As part of its intervention to address teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), domestic and sexual-based violence against women in the country, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) over the weekend handed over equipment and furniture worth Le116,750,000 to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs (MSWGCA) on behalf of the Makeni Safe Home.
The donation ceremony took place at the home in Makambo, Makeni. The home houses and takes care of victims of sexual and domestic violence in Makeni as well as counsels and transforms them to become useful and responsible citizens in society.
|UNFPA Deputy Country Representative Mariama Diarra delivering her speech
In his keynote statement, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, Mustapha Bai Attila described the home as "the dream" of his Ministry to remove women off the streets noting that with adequate resources, the Ministry would not like women to live permanently in the safe home pointing out that after treatment and counselling they are expected to return home.
Mustapha Bai Attila also asserted that people should not compromise sexual and domestic violence offences against women. He urged all and sundry to always endeavour to report such matters to the police or the Ministry for action. He further warned men to desist from abusing women as according to them such era is over.
The Deputy Minister commended the UN family for constructing two safe homes for the Ministry in Bo and Makeni and assured that the Ministry would adequately take care of the facilities for the benefit of women.
Deputy UNFPA Country Representative, Mariama Diarra informed that the safe homes were constructed with funds provided by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) whilst UNFPA completed and furnished the building two years ago but expressed displeasure that the home is not been occupied by beneficiaries thereby exposing them to more violence.
She underlined that the rate of reported cases of sexual and domestic violence against women is alarming in the country observing that now children are not afraid of sex and appealed to parents to discipline their children to become good citizens.
The UNFPA Deputy Country Representative further pointed out that the rights of women are violated almost on a daily bases for which the UN family is supporting Government with equipment and furniture to take care of victims of sexual-based and other violence and appealed that the home commences full scale operations.
The Mayor of Makeni City Council, Sunkarie Kabba Kamara commended the UN family for its support to the safe home, an indication of its efforts and commitment to address women and children's issues in the country.
She said women have suffered immensely to violence from men but was optimistic that with the safe home most of the victims would be cared for and implored victims to come out and report violations against them.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Joseph Kanu applauded UNFPA and UNDP for the invaluable initiative.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.