On International Girl Day,Salesians Review Initiatives in Support of Girls in Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, Don Bosco Fambul received the Spanish “Solidarity Project Award” for work with girls facing abuse. Credit: Salesian Missions

On the annual occasion of the International Day of the Girl (IDG) marked October 11, the leadership of the U.S-based development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Salesian Missions, has reviewed initiatives Salesians have undertaken in an effort to reach out to girls across the globe, including Africa.

“Salesian missionaries living and working in more than 130 countries around the globe are focused on achieving gender equality through educational programs targeted specifically for girls,” officials of Salesian Missions say in their Tuesday, October 11 report.

In Sierra Leone, the SDB officials say Don Bosco Fambul provides support to underage girls who are victims of sexual violence and abuse.

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

In June, the Freetown-based Salesian entity was honored with the “Solidarity Project Award” by Spanish daily newspaper ABC, for facilitating “support and recovery for underage girls”.


In the October 11 report, the Salesians say that they launched "a therapeutic center with four large buildings, a clinic, accommodations for volunteers and social workers, a house for the Salesian community, and a chapel" to support the Girls Os+ program.

Salesian officials add that the initiative, 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.

“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 initiative in Sierra Leone, Salesian officials say that the educational programs at Don Bosco Fambul have given “young women the skills necessary to find and retain employment.”

More in Africa

In the report, the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, is quoted as saying, “Salesians around the globe are working to ensure that young girls have equal access to education and the tools needed for learning.”

“Young girls face many disadvantages and barriers to accessing education and achieving financial independence despite their huge potential,” Fr. Baek further says in the October 11 report.

He continues, “Salesian educational centers foster safe learning environments for girls and encourage them to continue to advanced education and skills training so they can become leaders in their families and communities.”

Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, the IDG “recognizes girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.”

IDG 2022 is being marked under the theme, “Our time is now – our rights, our future”. 


This year’s event “has a threefold focus including letting girls lead by putting them at the forefront of change efforts, resources for girls that support their education and mental health, and strengthening services for girls at all times but especially in crisis response and recovery.”

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.