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Thoughts from Sierra Leone

By Rahid Peters, Sierra Leone

A variety of things can be done in this war-torn country in order to help children

Some thoughts on what NGOs can do to help:

Evacuation of children from areas of fighting in times of war to areas of peace and rest. Provision of medical facilities for war victims and children in areas of danger zones who are weak, sick, malnourished, injured, raped etc.

Provision of the basic necessities for life to go normal which are food, shelter and clothing. Also, effectively work to addressing and providing the social needs of war-affected and street children.

It is necessary to provide free educational facilities either formal or informal to children who are taken away from zones of conflicts.

Reuniting ex-child combatants and all war affected children back to their families/parents/guardian through 'Family Tracing Programmes'. Lots of work have been done in the area of trauma healing, peace and reconciliation drive and the whole lot of recreational activities. Educational facilities through ICT is provided to help the youth interact with peers around the world. They also counsel girls who have suffered from acts committed during the decade-long war.

The provision of artificial limbs for those that have been amputated by fragments and fighting forces. They should also provide job facilities for these people in all areas of work. Surgical operation should be provided to children branded with rebel signs and symbol to avert further embarrassment or death.

Providing medical assistance to various health centres on the country. Mobile clinics should be established in order to treat health problems at all times. Help defend child rights issues and advocate for these rights.

Provision of formal and informal education skills in soap making, carpenter and even brick laying including construction of makeshift abodes.

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Reconstruction: July-August-September 2002

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