Salesian Entity in Sierra Leone Awarded for Facilitating “recovery for underage girls”

Credit: Salesian Missions

Don Bosco Fambul, an organization run by the members of the religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in Sierra Leone has been honored with “Solidarity Project Award” by Spanish daily newspaper ABC, for facilitating “support and recovery for underage girls”.

In a Thursday, June 9 report, SDB officials say that the organization is supported by the Salesian Missions Office in Madrid, Spain. They say that the partnership is highlighted in the received award.

“Don Bosco Fambul won for the Girls Os+ program, which provides support and recovery for underage girls who are victims of sexual violence and abuse and forced into prostitution,” SDB officials say in the June 9 report.

They say that the program has transformed the lives of hundreds of girls who were victims of sexual abuse and forced prostitution from the time it was launched.

“Since the program was launched five years ago, it has changed the lives of more than 600 girls and given them the opportunity to start a new life and access education,” Salesian officials say.


The report indicates that the entity that has been awarded US$ 42,604 alongside the honorary award was pioneered by Fr. Jorge Crisafulli who asked a group of young girls forced into prostitution on the streets if they are willing to transform their lives.

Fr. Crisafulli was able to create a new program within the organization, which currently has a staff of 120 people, “including Salesian social workers who go out to the streets, slums and marketplaces.”

The staff, SDB officials say, “engage with vulnerable youth and encourage them to join Don Bosco Fambul’s successful programs.”

“A therapeutic center with four large buildings, a clinic, accommodations for volunteers and social workers, a house for the Salesian community, and a chapel” were launched to strengthen the Girls Os+ program, they say in the June 9 report.

Salesian officials add that the program, which is the only one offering such services in West Africa, provides girls with a conducive environment to face their traumas and start a new life.

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“Salesian missionaries, professional social workers, and pastoral workers provide crisis intervention and follow-up care for girls and young women who have been victims of sexual assault,” they say.

SDB officials add, “Girls that access services at the shelter are also able to attend educational programs that are a part of the broader Don Bosco Fambul network of programs.”

Speaking further on the importance of the program in Sierra Leone, Salesian officials say that the educational programs within the organization have given “young women the skills necessary to find and retain employment.”

In the June 9 report, Fr. Crisafulli expresses appreciation for the award saying that it does not only recognize the work done but also partnerships and the support behind the initiative.

“I am very grateful for this award, which gives recognition to all the work behind it including support from Salesian Missions in Madrid, social workers, nurses, and psychotherapists,” Fr. Crisafulli is quoted as saying in the report.


He adds, “It is a daily miracle to see these girls come back and smile. This means that they have overcome their traumas and are working on leading full lives.”

In the report, SDB officials acknowledge a 2018 documentary about ‘Love’ that was produced by Salesian Missions Madrid. The documentary primarily depicted Don Bosco Fambul’s efforts to help young women who are victims of sexual violence.

Commenting on the documentary, Fr. Crisafulli is quoted as saying, “We succeeded in getting the minors to be seen for what they are, victims and not perpetrators.”

“Thanks to the documentary and the testimony of young women at European institutions, Sierra Leone’s president decreed a national emergency on child sexual abuse, and laws were changed in the country to benefit and protect young victims,” the Catholic Priest has been quoted as saying in the June 9 report.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.