In Sierra Leone, we want to create a perspective for the street children in Freetown. Besides the reunification into the families, we also support the boys and girls to go back to school or to complete an apprenticeship.
We have been taking care of the 16-year-old Balley since this spring and were able to successfully return her to her family and provide her with an education at her own request.
Balley was brought to the street children’s shelter at the beginning of March. She was living with her aunt and her aunt’s husband, who unfortunately treated the young girl badly. Balley had to defend herself against some of the man’s assaults and found no help against these assaults from her aunt, but rather she was accused of lying.
As a result, Balley left her aunt and lived on the street from then on. In order to survive, she prostituted herself.
After her arrival at the Pikin Paddy shelter, we had long conversations with her, in which she gradually told us her whole story.
Balley’s story is a typical example of a young girl in Sierra Leone
It turned out that she has a two-year-old daughter and is also married. The child is living with her in-laws. Since Balley neither wanted to get married nor live with her husband, she kept running away. Her own family did not want to take her in, so she ended up with her aunt. But she does not want to go back to her husband or her aunt.
Therefore, we were able to get in touch with Balley’s sister, who was willing to take her in. With this we could prepare the re-integration and we completed it successfully.
From the street back to a regular life
The young mother had never attended school, but wanted to be able to take care of her daughter in the future. Therefore, we were able to arrange an apprenticeship opportunity in the gastronomy with her. Balley expressed the wish that her daughter should stay with her mother-in-law so that she could concentrate on her training.
The apprenticeship reports only good things about the young women. She comes to class on time, works with concentration and shows great effort. She is participating in her apprenticeship with great joy and can finally decide freely what she wants to do. At the training centre, she has become acquainted with other young girls and has to opportunity to simply meet up with a friend and live the life of a teenager. Further, there are no problems with her sister.
At the International Day for Street Children (more in our news from 12.04.2021) Balley reported about her past and her experiences. She advised especially girls to stay at home and avoid a life on the streets. She also referred to organizations like Cap Anamur, which the children can ask for help to end their life on the streets.