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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

City bus for kids on the street

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City bus for kids on the street


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The initiative is part of the project “Mobile Unit for the Protection of children at risk on the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone” funded by AEXCID, Extremadura Agency for International Cooperation for Development.
According to the statement sent to Fides, the bus was supposed to have left the port of Lisbon on Monday, February 13 and, once it arrived in Freetown, it would be taken over by the Salesians of Don Bosco, which has over 18 years of experience with street children in the country.

“People who leave rural areas in search of more dignified living conditions for their children constantly come to Freetown. Very often many minors end up working as domestic servants. Mafias deceive families living in rural areas with false promises.

“Also many parents force children into prostitution or sell them in markets to help the family economically. In addition, many children have been orphaned because of the epidemic of Ebola that caused 4,000 deaths,” according to the statement.

It also added that the result had been that thousands of children living on the streets of Freetown continued to badly suffer from malnutrition, diseases, abuse, labor exploitation and sexual violence as well as being deprived of opportunities for the future.

The benefactors said the bus would travel to the poorest neighborhoods of Freetown to become a reference point for the at-risk child population.

“On board there will be health personnel and social workers who have experience with street children. Among the services available: food, clothes and showers, medical and basic health care,” the statement said, adding that children would also receive psychosocial care, participate in games, excursions and workshops.

One of the most important goals of Mobile Unit, it noted, was the prevention of risk situations and the children’s relocation with their parents or with foster families.

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