Carmen Timis, wife of Frank Timis who is executive chairman of African Minerals, has visited the Carmen Timis Centre for Children in Makeni which was named after her. The centre is one of several homes established by Street Child Sierra Leone, a United Kingdom registered charity organisation working with street children in Sierra Leone. Carmen Timis was welcomed with a special song composed for her with words of praise and appreciation for her wonderful work and compassion for children in this part of the world.
In his welcome address, the regional coordinator of Street Child Sierra Leone, John Momodu Kargbo, thanked Madam Timis for her generous work, the contributions to the development of the centre and lives of street children in Makeni and other parts in the country. He said children in the centres were on the streets not because their parents were dead, but because those parents could not afford to take care of them and send them to school. “This is why the project is targeting deplorable children whose parents cannot take care of them”, Kargbo informed Carmen Timis, adding that the project has reunified five hundred street children with their parents and some were now engaged in various self reliant trades such as tailoring, carpentry and masonry.
He referred to the effort as a success story which Carmen Timis was also part of through her generous contributions to the overall street child project in the country. Responding to the warm welcome from street kids and staff members of the centre, Carmen Timis almost lost for words, saying she was humbled by the warm reception. The soft spoken mother started off by saying, “I am just a little piece in this great work. This is my husband’s idea which he developed since 2005 when he started coming to Sierra Leone”. Carmen Timis said she was very happy to come to Sierra Leone to see the centre and the kids herself. “I have received and saw a lot of photos of you and the centre while I was in London, but I decided to come here to also have an opportunity to see and hear from you”, Timis told the buoyant street children. She ended her statement by assuring the street children that they would continue to give their support to the centre.
Carmen Timis brought with her some chocolate, biscuits and drinks as gifts which she distributed to the cheerful children. One disturbing issue in this part of the country is the widespread preference for prioritizing education of males over females. In a consultation with street girls in Makeni in 2008 by Street Child, a striking feature was that despite their age the foremost wish of the vast majority of the girls was to go to school.
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