Pictured receiving a bag of rice and monetary aid from Melqosh Mission International for the three days Ebola lock down, 3 weeks ago is 17 yr Fatmata Hope Kamara. A brilliant student whose limb was cut off by the war rebels when she was only 2 yrs old.
Whilst many students return to school today, with two year’s school fee waiver; it is quite the opposite for Fatmata and other children of amputees. They will not benefit from the FREE EDUCATION because they go to private schools; not out of luxury but because the schools in their locality are private-led. The war orphans and children of amputees live in isolated Amputee Camps in the Western Rural and Urban areas. They face social exclusion because they live away from communities where they could have enjoyed social capital, inclusion etc. There are no government schools in their locality.
Fatmata has never had a free education, despite her disability. In 2013, Melqosh Mission International, a humanitarian organisation approached Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, who directed the Founder, Madam Faith Okrafo-Smart to Ministry Education; to find out why a disadvantaged war victim who is of school going age was not entitled to free education. She was informed by the M.O.E.’s Superitendent that Fatmata was ineligible as she was in SS2. In spite of the Girl Child Free Education policy, girls between the SS2- SS3 where not entitled to free education.
Fast forward, 15 months on, Government of Sierra Leone’s 2015 Ebola recovery social policy, 2 years free education to primary and secondary schools. Fatmata is STILL not eligible as the government school she’s been trying to get into since 2013 has denied her admission yet again; not because of poor grades , but at its prerogative saying that she should stay at the private school she’d been attending.
This is institutional discrimination in its peak. Nontheless, Melqosh Mission International is committed to continue paying the fees of these marginalised children under its Educational Sponsorship Programme which has been in operation since 2012.
War Orphans at Grafton Amputee Camps. The only primary and secondary schools in this part of Freetown are private-led.
Would you like to partner with Melqosh Mission International in educating rejected and neglected children including Ebola Orphans? Please visit here and see E-flyer below.