H.E. Fatima Maada Bio calls on Paramount chiefs in Kenema to take ownership
First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone Her Excellency Fatima Maada Bio has called on Paramount chiefs of Kenema District to own the Hands of Our Girls Campaign in the district. She made this call at the official launching of the campaign in the district.
In attendance were the Chief Minister, Professor David Francis, Information Minister, Mohamed Swarray, Internal Affairs Minister, Edward Soloku, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister, Lahai Lawrence Leema, Press Secretary to the President Yusuf Keketoma Sandy and many other heads of parastatal were among dignitaries present.
Making his open remarks the chairman of the program Augustine Sannoh said the event is a sacred one as it is geared towards protecting young girls in the district and in the country.
He applauded Parliamentarians for amending the sexual offences act of 2012 as amended in 2019, stating that is a show of commitment to support the campaign.
“I want to ask girls to carry books not child, make use of the Free Quality Education, it for your own good.” He said.
Welcoming the First Lady and international partners to the district the Mayor of Kenema city, Maya Kaikai submitted that the prayers of the people have been answered, adding that they have been waiting for the campaign that seeks to protect girls and it has finally landed on their door step.
According to him the campaign will support development, because with empowered women development is assured.
He added ” I want this campaign to last forever in this district as we will soon open the first Hands of Girls campaign office in the district being the first to have office for the campaign. “
District Chairman, Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Moriba Koroma thanked the First Lady for her relentless effort in her quest to protect girls. He pointed out that the campaign is complimenting the Government human capital development agenda.
He disclosed that H.E. Fatima Maada Bio is on the right track to ensure development is sustained, reiterating that the First Lady is following the foot steps of her Husband in delivering on campaign promises.
“This campaign it not about the First Lady but for our many young girls in the country.” He mentioned.
Minister of Social Welfare, Baindu Dassama-Kallon called on parents to stop giving children goods to take to the market, and reminded them of the laws that forbid children under that age of 14 to trade.
She stated ” We will soon start enforcing all laws that protect children in our country. “
She in turn pleaded with girls to have sympathy for their parents and should focus on education and that all other good things will follow when they are educated.
In her address H.E. Fatima Maada Bio asked the men from all works of life to let girls be girls not mothers. She called on those in office of influence, that are in the habit of harassing women in exchange of favour to stop such act.
She encouraged girls to utilise the Free Quality Education, adding that it might be discarded by the next president after President Bio would have completed his term in office.
“If a woman is to become President it starts right from the school and we want to have a female president now, but that can only be achieved if you girls are educated then you can make that change.” She said.
She asked that the Paramount Chiefs across the district come together and have a bye – laws to protect girls in the district, as she assured them of her support 100% to ensure girls are empowered.
“We must not rest until the people of this country are satisfied that girls have been protected 100%, it a fight we must win together with the community people.” She added.
She concluded by handing over the campaign to the Paramount chiefs and stakeholders of the district, stating that the campaign is not owned by her but by all meaningful Sierra Leoneans that desire development.
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