Augusta meet Pope Francis Sierra Leone

Augusta, the story of Sierra Leone that moved Europe

Augusta is 22 years old and was born in a village in Sierra Leone. At the age of 12 her parents died and a fake aunt trafficked her to the big city. With the promise of giving her a home, family and school but she did not keep any of her promises.

She put her to work more than twelve hours a day selling water and fruit on the street. Abuses, beatings, insults followed when she didn’t sell enough or when a coin was missing. The worst came one night when the man in the house wanted to sexually abuse her.

The only solution was to escape to the streets of Freetown, where she found some friends who introduced her to the world of child prostitution: “It’s the only way you have to survive,” Augusta said. And it was a road to hell…

Augusta met Don Bosco Fambul

It felt like used, abused and discarded merchandise. A social worker from Don Bosco Fambul found her sleeping under a table. At first he refused to listen to her because he thought she was another fake aunt who wanted to deal with her again. But the affection broke the barrier of mistrust and she entered the Girls Shelter program.

Don Bosco helped her smile with words of hope: “It’s not your fault. God loves you madly and takes care of you. You are a wonderful work that has come out of God’s hands…”. Thus, little by little, she also returned to trust in God, in others and in herself. She finished high school and learned to cook.

Today she has her own small business that sells food at events and meetings. And dreams of opening her own restaurant in the heart of Freetown to “give work to other girls who have gone through the same hell. She teaches the Girls Shelter girls cooking and says, “If Augusta has made it, any one of you can do it.

From 18 to 27 February, she took part in a European tour with the documentary Love. She met the President of the European Parliament, the President of Malta, the Rector Major of the Salesians and the Pope. He shared his story of pain and hope with them and moved them to tears. Giving the book Unnamed Girls to the President of Malta, she replied: “No, now, thanks to you, every girl in Sierra Leone has a face and a name.

And a voice shouting from African soil: “Our girls are sacred and nobody touches them”.

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