As part of its Christmas programs, the Sierra Leone-Canadian Children’s Aid Society (SLCCAS) Saturday, December 19th, 2009 provided food and clothing to close to two hundred school children of the One Family Preparatory and Primary School at Kissy Dockyard in the East end of Freetown during the Christmas Carol Service organised by the school.
Addressing staff, children and their families, the Country Representative of SLCCAS, Abdulai Bayraytay started by thanking parents for sending their children to school amidst the difficult economic times. He acknowledged that even though it is sad that some of these children lost their fathers during the course of the country’s civil war, it is indeed a challenge for parents to help make the next generation a vibrant and educated one. “As we celebrate the festive season, we join you in this Carol service by providing food and clothes to children in need so that they too could be happy with smiles as they too deserve to be loved and cared for”, Bayraytay said.
The Country Representative further appealed to parents to continue to protect children from harm and abuse. This, he said, would promote children to realise their full potentials in making them be useful citizens in the future. Bayraytay thanked the volunteers who sacrificed their time in making the occasion a grand success, adding that had it not been for their commitment it would have been difficult for him to have done it alone.
Giving a background history of his organization, Mr. Bayraytay disclosed that the SLCCAS was founded as an international non-governmental organization with a charity status in Canada by Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone based in Canada as a professional that is poise to responding to the challenges of protecting children from abuse. He said the focus will not be on prosecuting cases of child abuse. Rather, he went on, it would be on providing therapeutic, psychosocial counselling to primary care givers in breach of the Child rights Act of 2007. “This strategy is the paramount vision of the Executive-Director of our organization, Mr. Mohamed Son Samura and our staff at headquarters”, Bayraytay reassured his audience.
In his welcome address, the Chief at Kissy Dockyard who doubles as Proprietor of the One Family Preparatory and Primary School, Joseph Williams expressed warm appreciation to SLCCAS for what he described as a wonderful gesture. “This gesture is first of its kind and we hope and pray that the SLCCAS is here to stay in addressing child protection issues in Sierra Leone as well as helping children in dire need”, Chief Williams said amidst applauses.
Delivering the vote of thanks, the Coordinator of the Kids Advocacy Network, Edmund Forna thanked the Country Representative of SLCCAS, Abdulai Bayraytay for the generosity extended to vulnerable children. “I have known Mr. Bayraytay as a very caring and committed person in working with children and this kind gesture is yet a clear manifestation of compassion and love he has for the children of Sierra Leone”, Forna said. He concluded by admonishing parents to care and protect children from harm as some might become lawyers, doctors and political rulers of this county.
The Sierra Leone -Canadian Children’s Aid Society is registered in Canada as an international NGO with a charity status as well as with the government of Sierra Leone. It comprises of Sierra Leonean professional social workers resident in Canada. Its aims and objectives include, among others, the advancement of education by providing courses, seminars and workshops on parenting and the prevention of child abuse, providing assistance to vulnerable children in Sierra Leone.
The Make a Child Happy and Smile event was chaired by Mr. M.A. Bangura, the Vice-Principal of the Municipal Junior Secondary School at Kissy Dockyard in Freetown.
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