Addressed to underage girls who experience violence such as rape, child cruelty, early marriage or any kind of abuse.
Don Bosco provides protection, first aid, legal support, food, shelter and counselling
The sexual exploitation of girls as well as young women thrives due to harsh economic realities of many families. Parents send their daughter away as prostitutes in order to secure the family’ livelihood, hence causing a viscous cycle of sexual abuse by the father, family members and even neighbours. On account of the disaster DBF set up a home to shelter girls that find themselves in such a situation – to protect them from the perpetrators.
The Creole word “Girls-Os” (girls home) is supposed to stand for a nonviolent contact and advice centre in Freetown for girls and young women aged between 8 and 17 years. Due to the fact that the majority of the girls and young women we address are in difficult life situations, i.e. they are homeless, mostly consume drugs, have been experiencing violence or abuse, the Girls Shelter was designed as a retreat and protection area. Around the clock the Girls Shelter offers basic supply and care, like food and drink, showers and laundry facilities, a place to retreat and sleep, and above all opportunities for talking and getting into contact with others. Every day, every hour, time after time – without fear and humiliation. Advice and support: whenever you need it and want it. Target is the reunification with the family of origin including support measures by Don Bosco Fambul or the introduction in a foster family who has been trained and accompanied by Don Bosco Fambul.
The Girls Shelter is made up of four fundamental components or activities:
- Rest and safety (rest area/sleeping room)
- Hygiene and health (examination room/showers/washing room)
- Clearing and the coordination of the support planning/family work (office)
Girls whose life situations have stabilised to some extent continue to be accompanied by professional female social workers. The management and the staff of the projects keep complaining about the great need for professional help for girls living on the streets. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs as well as organisations like UNICEF encourage Don Bosco Fambul to stay active in this field.