Volunteers Mentor Our Youth in Sierra Leone

01/20/11

This past October, two young adults—a lady and a young man—joined Children of the Nations (COTN) in Sierra Leone as volunteers in the area of youth development. They are trained as peer educators by Restless Development, an England-based organization that helps young people in conflict-affected and developing areas to become leaders in health, government, and job development within their country. In Sierra Leone, the organization is based in the capital, Freetown, with a regional office in Bo, near Banta Mokelleh, where COTN is located.

These Restless Development representatives—Abu Sheriff and Aminatta Abdullai—have both graduated from senior secondary school (high school) and are hoping to continue on to university soon. For a total of eight months, however, they are volunteering with COTN in Sierra Leone to help train youth in behavioral change, peace and moral education, conflict management, and transformation. They have been doing remarkably well at COTN’s Mallory Jansen Memorial School. They have established a youth center at COTN’s junior secondary school, which meets on Saturdays to address relevant youth needs. Three days a week they host an after-school program for the older children who live in COTN’s Children’s Village. “We have been working very [well] with these guys,” says Mr. Bah, who teaches French at COTN’s school and serves as one of COTN’s church youth pastors. “In fact, they have requested five minutes from every class session input relevant youth [topics]. We emphasize Christ-centeredness in all we teach and they are complying with that very well.” Abu and Aminatta also working with our youth in nearby Ngolala Village, where they are staying.

The school observed World AIDS Day on December 1, 2010, focusing on the theme of working toward zero infection. The Restless Development team played a significant role in the success of the program, which included a skit on HIV awareness, a dance by the children’s Sunday school class, and the poem entitled, “Choose This Day Where You Stand” by COTN–Sierra Leone Head of Evangelism Rev. James Conteh, challenging everyone to be proactive in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “We appreciate their presence here,” says Mr. Sesay, principal of COTN’s senior secondary school, about the Restless Development volunteers.

“Our focus is to build the capacity of the people in the community with our activities and to see that these activities are sustained even if we exit,” Abu Sheriff says. “And COTN has been helping us to accomplish our goals.”

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