Meet Future for Children beneficiaries in Sierra Leone
Three profiles of girls who have benefited from the programs of Future for Children – Sierra Leone, one of our 2013 partners.
When FFC-SL first met Hawamatu Vandi she was a fifteen-year-old trader, working at Congo Market selling coal. She was not enrolled at school and was facing several difficult challenges. Sales of coal were not sufficient to base a sustainable living upon and so Hawamatu found it hard to afford the food that she required. Due to this, she was malnourished when she met FFC. Her and her sister had moved to Freetown in search of a better life.
Hawamatu’s sister was particularly concerned about losing her sibling to an early marriage. Young girls are vulnerable and often fall victim to exploitative marriages with older men for the wrong reasons. Although she has always had Hawamatu’s best interests at heart, she works as a seamstress and the nature of the work is very seasonal meaning that there are often long periods where money is short. Hawamatu attended school while living in the provinces but an inability to keep up with fees meant she had dropped out. Forming a relationship with FFC has meant that Hawamatu has been able to improve her health, re-enroll at school and make huge improvements to her language skills. Her overall quality of life has been enhanced in many ways as a result of the support she receives, for example she gets the chance to meet with other beneficiaries and attend social events planned by the FFC staff. Since she has returned to school she has been performing very well and is hoping to go on to university. Her favorite subject at the moment is Social Studies, although she is aspiring for a career in accountancy. She and her sister are both very grateful for the help that FFC have given her, Hawamatu said that she thinks she would have had children by now had she not returned to school.
Mariama and Marian, two sisters, were found by FFC-SL three years ago while they were working on the streets of Freetown. They come from a family of seven children who sadly, like many families, lost their father during the hardships of the Sierra Leonean Civil War. As a consequence their mother struggled to provide for them all and so the two girls sold soap in order to sustain themselves. FFC-SL intercepted the girls and the team of social workers counselled them to uncover how they had come to be out of school and struggling to get by on the streets. Following this initial contact, FFC-SL worked with the girls and their family to bring the family closer and make arrangements for the girls to return to school. Since then, they have been attending school regularly and both are doing brilliantly. FFC-SL also provides them with counselling, guidance and a strong female role model in order to keep to keep them focused on their education. When asked what they would be doing had they not met FFC they said that they would probably have been forced to marry and have children; they are only 14 and 16. Since being supported by FFC-SL both girls have said that being in school has brought them great happiness; they now feel valued members of Sierra Leonean society. Their favourite subjects are Maths and Biology and they are constantly excelling themselves at school. Marian wants to be a nurse and Mariama would like to be an accountant; both girls are determined to complete their schooling and go to university.
Marian Bangura is 9 years old and she was first interviewed by FFC three years ago when she was 6 years old. She lived at Dwarzak Farm and spent much of her time working at Congo Market. When FFC first met Marian she had never been to school. Most of her young life had been spent with her mother, working to sell fish. Marian’s father was also an unskilled petty trader; he worked in the grinding of cassava leaves and nuts. Neither of Marian’s parents made a substantial income and this meant that they struggled to afford the food that their two children and extended family needed to survive. Constant deficits meant it was never considered essential to send the children to school. Marian first came to the FFC office with one of her friends – another of the beneficiaries – and the social workers decided to interview her. After finding out more about Marian’s life, FFC decided to take her on as one of their beneficiaries and have since given much support to her and her family. Marian’s school fees are paid for and since attending she has excelled herself in all areas, she has progressed to class 3 and her favorite subject is writing. She hopes to go on to university and become a doctor. Marian is a very friendly and lively child; her favorite hobby is balance ball. She is very popular with the other beneficiaries and has made many friends for herself.