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December 2020 magazine

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Building the future of Sierra Leone ABDULAI S VILLAGE WAS DESTROYED BY CIVIL WAR HE VOWED TO HELP REBUILD HIS NATION In Abdulai Sumaila s home village of Bumpeh a small town in the southern province of Sierra Leone most families survive on subsistence farming as they have for decades Farming is the mainstay of rural families who mostly grow rice and cassava for their own consumption Source USAID In Bumpeh school was not a high priority for children who are needed to help in the fields Abdulai and his five siblings enjoyed a simple life with their parents who augmented their meager farming income by teaching and petty trading When the chaos of the civil war came to Bumpeh Abdulai and his siblings were separated from their parents leaving them to be raised by various relatives who used them for farm labor I would wake up at 4 AM and go to the farm Abdulai remembers I could only return back home in the evening During that desperate time the family was focused solely on survival School was out of the question for the children Eventually the siblings learned that their parents had died and their uncle and grandmother took sole responsibility for them Stories in this issue Abdulai has worked on a number of engineering projects both paid and as a volunteer In 2018 he contributed to the design and construction of cargo lines and an underground tunnel for LEONCO a Sierra Leonean oil and gas company PAGE 2 Former CRC student Abdulai Sumaila is building the future of Sierra Leone PAGE 7 Villages in Sierra Leone how can we meet the needs of children and families PAGE 8 First Person Allen and Patty Morell remember Ebola lockdown at the Child Reintegration Centre PAGE 12 Attachment Theory Workshop helps vulnerable families become stronger PAGE 18 Join the mission that is transforming lives When the war finally ended in 2002 a field supervisor from the newly launched Child Rescue Centre CRC who had an affiliation with Bumpeh came there to investigate the welfare of the children Most of the villagers were desperately poor and wanted their children to go to the CRC where they believed they would have a chance at a better life and the opportunity to go to school In the village there were a lot of children in need The only chance I had over the rest of the children is that they saw potential in me Abdulai says 2 HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE 3

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Abdulai back row fifth from left grew up in the residential centre established by the Sierra Leone United Methodist Church UMC SLAC to rescue children who were orphaned or abandoned during the civil war very different he says A lot of the things I enjoyed with my family weren t available like gari cassava meal and kanya peanut sweets More than anything or anyone else he missed his grandmother the one who always believed in him My grandma was the only one I felt close to and she couldn t afford to come to the city he says regretfully Sadly she died four years ago I m very sad that she s not alive to enjoy the benefits of me going to the CRC What my family thought was evil turned out to be for good Abdulai is grateful for the opportunity he was given to get an education and pursue his dream something he doesn t feel would have been possible if he had stayed in Bumpeh village If I stayed with my family I would have had no opportunities My family lives far from civilization And at the CRC I got the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ Of the six children in his family he is the only one that went to school beyond the primary grades All of them quit by class 5 or 6 and ended up in farming or trading or mining he says Dr Stevens demonstrates hand washing at a COVID 19 villag outreach Growing up in the residential centre Abdulai was aware that he was different from the other kids at his school and he felt a keen obligation to become someone who could make a difference for his village of Bumpeh I felt a lot After many meetings with the village chieftains it was decided that seven children from the neediest families would go live in the CRC s residential program including 10 year old Abdulai who was the youngest in his family Abdulai s uncle vehemently opposed his admission to the CRC But Abdulai s grandmother wanted him to go to school and her will prevailed Abdulai became one of the original 40 children taken in as residents at the CRC In spite of missing several years of school he skipped HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE is a 501 c 3 nonprofit corporation supported by 18 churches generous individuals and organizations like yours Contents of this and all HCW publications are freely distributed and may be reprinted with attribution For additional copies of this publication please contact us at support helpingchildrenworldwide org Helping Children Worldwide supports the Child Reintegration Centre Mercy Hospital and the Missionary Training Centre operated by the United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone Learn how you can join our mission to transform lives helpingchildrenworldwide org get involved ahead to Class 3 then skipped again to Class 5 After passing the National Primary School Examination with a high score Abdulai was admitted to the prestigious Christ the King College an all boys school near the CRC along with several other CRC boys I told my family I would become an engineer so I could help rebuild of responsibility I got to visit my hometown and observed things that were very hurtful the structure my family lived in the famous bridge destroyed by the rebels in the civil war The beautiful houses burned down It made me think who is going to rebuild these The bridge in my home town was so dilapidated residents can only use the boats to cross the water and I m a person who is very afraid of water I told my family I would become an engineer so I could help rebuild Propelled by that dream Abdulai earned a scholarship to study civil engineering at Fourah Bay College in Freetown Moving to the big city of Freetown was a major culture shock for Abdulai I was not too acquainted with the lifestyle or location I had no clue where I was going Everything must be planned and executed by me alone Abdulai has remained close to his CRC family stepping in to help care for the children in residential care during the Ebola lockdown In many ways Abdulai loved his new life in the residential centre and his memories are mostly happy Growing up at the CRC my life was full of curiosity and innovation Abdulai says But he missed his family and the warmth of the village community The lifestyle at the CRC was EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Melody Curtiss CONTRIBUTORS Allen and Patty Morell CONTENT RESEARCH Kathleen Caron Laura Horvath Mohamed Nabieu PHOTO CREDITS Patty Morell Tina DeBoeser Henry Kebbie Johanese Baun DESIGN WRITING Kathleen Caron Laura Horvath Melody Curtiss STATISTICS Cynthia Grant PROOFREADING Linda Reinhard HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE 5

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HOW DO WE HELP RURAL VILLAGES MEET THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES Waking up early cooking doing laundry and managing my own time I was forced to embrace hard living outside the CRC he says ruefully Abdulai met his wife Aminata through Navigators Christian Club at university She graduated from Fourah Bay College with a degree in philosophy and law They were married in 2019 and this year welcomed a baby girl to their family VILLAGE PARTNERSHIP IS HELPING BREAK THE POVERTY CYCLE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES After graduating university in Sierra Leone culture I became the head of my family Abdulai says I am holding to my dream to continue to provide quality professionalism in every task I am involved in for the benefit of my country I have worked as a supervisor on construction projects like hospitals schools commercial and residential structures on both a voluntary and paid basis I hope one day I can be in a top national position where I can use my technical skills and spiritual insights to transform the lives of others in Sierra Leone Abdulai wants to be a role model for young Sierra Leoneans with this advice for the next generation Young people should believe in their dreams and work hard to see those dreams fulfilled Know the Lord Jesus be humble and respect the older generation he says His grandmother would no doubt be very proud of her grandson the engineer who is helping rebuild Sierra Leone 6 HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE Sierra Leone s rural dirt roads become nearly impassable during the rainy seasons leaving villages isolated from the market economy and services they desperately need to thrive Unable to access the education health care and sanitation that would lift the community up village economies languish in a vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy In the urban areas of Sierra Leone the proportion of poor children significantly declined by about 24 percentage points between 2010 and 2017 while child poverty increased slightly in rural areas from 85 per cent to 87 per cent www statistics sl Abdulai and Aminata were married in 2019 at Charles Davies United Methodist Church in Freetown above His groomsmen included fellow CRC alumnus Dr Aruna Stevens below right Read Aruna s story in our Summer 2020 Magazine and Impact Statement Helping Children Worldwide is helping the villages served by Mercy Hospital and the CRC to break out of the poverty cycle by partnering with these communities to establish sustainable hygiene systems access to health care and improvements in education Community mapping surveys are conducted to determine which improvements the residents want and what will be the most effective in lifting the community out of poverty A three year plan is established to implement the improvements which may include family empowerment programs micro finance training sanitation clean water sources school development and improved infrastructure Village Partnership encourages local control and ownership of issues ultimately building stronger families that are self sufficient and working together for the good of the community Learn how you can partner with a village by visiting us online at www helpingchildrenworldwide org village or scan the qr code at right Rural poverty is 86 3 compared to 37 in urban areas 25 of schoolaged children living in villages do not attend school 48 of village residents do not have access to safe drinking water Food insecurity affects nearly 60 of rural households Statistics from International Fund for Agricultural Development a specialized agency of the United Nations HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE 7

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FIRST PERSON ALLEN PATTY MORELL During the Ebola crisis of 2014 2015 Patty and Allen Morell long time missioners and partner church representatives for Osterville UMC stayed with the children in the residential program to shepherd them through a very dark time Here the Morells share the scriptural principles that kept them going T he times in which we are living may feel very strange to most Americans We got a good taste of how it feels to be quarantined for months at a time back in 2014 and 2015 during the Ebola Virus outbreak in Sierra Leone When many international volunteers NGOs as well as some Sierra Leoneans themselves were leaving the country in fear of Ebola we felt we could not desert our Child Rescue Centre family in Bo We made a very prayerful and conscious decision to stay in Sierra Leone In August 2014 with the blessing of the Sierra Leone UMC Bishop John Yambasu and Helping Children Worldwide we went into lockdown with 44 Child Rescue Centre resident children and 9 CRC staff plus 5 security guards all who volunteered and committed to live inside the compound 24 hours per day not knowing how long the Ebola Virus might be active in Sierra Leone How did the CRC keep 60 people in lockdown for eight months safe and healthy keep up everyone s spirits as well as prevent boredom It was accomplished in ten very intentional ways 1 Safety First The wise man looks ahead Proverbs 14 8 The CRC clinic was enhanced with supplies medicines and malaria test kits Physical contact with people outside was not allowed Temperature checks of every child and adult were done each morning and recorded by the CRC nurse Hand washing stations were always kept full throughout the compound Anyone who came down with a fever was isolated until it could be determined that he she had malaria or another malady not Ebola We ensured everyone got plenty of sleep under bed nets ate well balanced meals and had lots of opportunities for exercise 2 Teamwork Makes the Dream Work Just as each of us has one body with many members and these members do not all have the same function each member belongs to all the others Romans 12 4 Everyone was divided into five different family groups 8 HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE that shared chores including preparing serving and cleaning up after meals working in the garden keeping the buildings and compound clean leading devotions and vespers and so much more The CRC staff members who could not commit to living inside the compound were key to providing supplies food and support doing errands as well as keeping in touch with three hundred CRC children and their families who lived in the community 3 Regular Schedule and Routine He made the moon to mark the months and the sun sets according to a regular schedule Psalm 104 19 It was really important to stick to a regular schedule with opportunities for the children to participate in some elective activities and for the adults to lead activities in their own areas of interest It was also necessary for the adults to get at least How did the CRC keep 60 people safe and healthy in lockdown for eight months keep up everyone s spirits as well as prevent boredom It was accomplished in ten very intentional ways one day off each week even though they had to stay inside the compound CRC Aunties were given the option to spend time at the Missionary Training Centre next door on their days off where there were special treats for them and plenty of comfy beds MTC staff were outside the walls 4 Continually Learning Practice these things Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress 1 Timothy 4 15 When schools closed all over the country due to the virus the CRC created the School of Champions which included an Electronic Classroom Classes focused on math language arts phonics and reading with electives in the afternoons Patty Morell back row waving and Allen Morell not pictured as he is taking the photo served as interim leaders of the Child Rescue Centre now Child Reintegration Centre during the Ebola crisis of 2014 2015 that infected more than 14 000 people and claimed the lives of nearly 4 000 During Advent the Language Arts Classes for grades 5 6 and JSS participated in daily devotions called Adverbs of Advent There were many opportunities to bake cakes with the children Reading math and science were integrated into this fun class The cakes were shared with all 60 people on special occasions All of the children took part in small group counseling activities once a week and more often as needed Saturday night was designated Game Night when staff and children could do puzzles play cards play familiar board games or learn new ones 5 Frequent Celebrations Rejoice always pray without ceasing give thanks in all circumstances 1 Thessalonians 5 16 18 There were daily celebrations some days more special than others Every School of Champions day began with celebratory singing and dancing Pharrell Williams song Happy became the theme song during the lockdown One of the younger CRC boys was dubbed Kid President after inspirational American child actor Robby Novak Awards and small prizes were given out for fitness achievements each week at Friday Film Show Night Those who celebrated birthdays that week passed out sweets to the audience There were extra special activities to intentionally mark milestones like 100 and 200 Days in Lock Down And of course there were meaningful ways to spend the season of Advent Christmas Eve Christmas Day New Year s Eve New Year s Day Valentine s Day Palm Sunday and Easter The kids were so excited about Christmas It was a simple yet unforgettable Christmas focused entirely on the birth of Jesus Children hand made lovely decorations acted in pageants sang beautiful Christmas songs and hymns created a nativity scene and kept us all entertained 6 Sharing Space with Non humans But ask the animals and they will teach you or the birds of the air they will tell you Job 12 7 This kept things interesting and kept us humans alert puppies and kittens were born learning firsthand how to attend to a scorpion bite bats in the attic competing with rats for rice security guards always on the lookout at night for snakes and beautiful actual night owls watching over us while we slept 7 Staying Connected I am eager to encourage you in your faith but I also want to be encouraged by yours In this way each of us will be a blessing to the other Romans 1 12 We were intentional about staying connected to the outside world The children reached out to friends in the community by calling them HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE 9

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9 Focusing on Others The King will reply Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you did for me Matthew 25 40 On a daily basis we were all intentionally praying for those who were sick those who were grieving the community outside the walls of the CRC the country and the end of Ebola The CRC children participated in outreach by putting together baskets containing homemade cards small Bibles rice spices soap toothpaste candles and other essentials Recipients of the baskets were identified by local church pastors who delivered the baskets Allen Morell right with CRC staff members and alumni including Dr Aruna Stevens third from left Mohamed Nabieu fifth from left Rosa Saffa fifth from right and Abdulai Sumaila second from right featured in this magazine Aruna Mohamed Rosa and Abdulai served as house parents at the CRC residence during the Ebola outbreak on a shared CRC mobile phone on a rotational schedule so that everyone had their turn Staff spoke with their families On Wednesday nights before bedtime we all met in the Great Hall in pj s to watch and listen to prerecorded Bedtime Stories read by friends from partner churches in the US Everyone looked forward to that special time To stay connected to the CRC students who lived in the community the CRC started a radio program called CARES This program also benefited all students in the Bo region The content consisted of all good news with school lessons for primary school junior secondary and senior secondary school students There were always academic contest questions during the radio program The CRC staff living in town made sure that the contest winners received their prizes 8 Having Fun So I commend the enjoyment of life because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun Ecclesiastes 8 15 While we may have been in lock down we were not locked up It was very busy inside the CRC compound 10 HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE and we always tried to have fun On Friday Fitness Days the final activity was a race among the Aunties including Patty One time the women planned a walking race while carrying buckets of water on their heads The kids could hardly contain their excitement On your mark get set GO As the women got about one third of the way to the finish line they stopped took the buckets off their heads and quickly threw the water at the children There were screams of surprise and delight There were also times when we would give all of the Aunties the afternoon off from cooking and instead we would cook with some of the older kids One time we decided to introduce gumbo to the CRC since Sierra Leoneans seem to like all of the ingredients especially okra We had great fun cooking dinner with the older children After we ate we went around to each table in the CRC dining hall and asked the children how they liked the gumbo At one table one of the youngest boys gave this review I didn t love it Please don t make it again When we were preparing to leave the country months later some of the children waved to us and said Goodbye Gumbo EVERY CHILD DESERVES TO LIVE 10 Staying Strong in Body and Faith By faith in the name of Jesus this man whom you see and know was made strong Acts 3 16 The children and staff helped plan daily devotions and prayers evening vespers Wednesday Afternoon Devotions Sunday Church with a well practiced CRC choir and Sunday Evening Bible studies There were sports competitions for football soccer volleyball and stone ball Jump roping and bike riding were favorite outdoor activities There was a Fitness Program every Friday afternoon where children and staff were encouraged to improve on their personal best There were fun races and even a race for the security guards When the lock down ended on April 22nd 2015 after the entire country had gone through 42 consecutive days 2 cycles of no new cases of Ebola the CRC gates were enthusiastically opened and all of the staff returned that day for Wednesday Afternoon Devotions Together we celebrated this joyous long anticipated occasion We all sang a song called Together Again There was not a dry eye in the Great Hall The next day all of the CRC Aunties left the compound for the first time in eight months to go home to their own families Other CRC women staff volunteered to stay with the children that night The commitment of the devoted CRC staff and security guards was remarkable and totally selfless The CRC children and staff and all Sierra Leoneans who lived through the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015 have an amazing testimony to share While the Ebola crisis was tragic on so many levels we will always remember that time spent with our CRC family with great fondness EVERY CHILD IS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD The Child Reintegration Centre provides education medical care spiritual mentoring and family support for nearly 600 extremely vulnerable children and youth so they can achieve their amazing God given potential Learn how you can help a child survive and thrive by scanning the qr code at right or visit us online at www helpingchildrenworldwide org sponsor a child Sponsor a child today HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE 11

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Attachment Theory helping vulnerable families become healthy and strong UMaine Servant Heart Research Collaborative team members CRC case managers and caregivers who completed the inaugural AT Workshop trainings proudly display their completion certificates The Servant Heart Research Collaborative a project of the University of Maine Honors College developed a six part series of workshops on attachment theory for caregivers of displaced orphaned and extremely vulnerable children The following panel discussion with Dr Laura Horvath UMaine alumna Patty Morell and the members of the SHRC details the history development and implementation of the attachment theory workshop series and how it is impacting vulnerable families in Sierra Leone O f the many family strengthening workshops and programs provided by the Child Reintegration Centre CRC the jewel in the crown of the series is the Attachment Theory Workshop and Self Paced Refresher Training or AT Workshop This six module series is taught to caregivers whose children are enrolled in the CRC programs and in similar programs in the Kono District and helps caregivers understand the impact of trauma on children and how it can affect their behavior Each module provides practical tools that help caregivers form loving healthy and lasting relationships with their children Over three years the AT Workshop has evolved and expanded to serve a widening pool of caregivers seeking to provide excellent care for children in their home The workshop began as a tool to help train six CRC residential aunties to bond with the children living in the orphanage Through the work of the students and faculty of UMaine s Honors College it has grown with the needs of the program and transformed into a curriculum that teaches parents and caregivers how to bond with the children being reintegrated into their families It is also being used as a tool for parents whose children have never been separated from them to teach them how to bond better and has been offered to over 200 caregivers in Bo alone When the success of the initial AT Workshop was published it sparked conversations among child welfare organizations all over the world expanding first to other locations in Sierra Leone including four areas in the Kono District Ngaiya Town Jesus Town Sukudu and Koidu training an additional 160 caregivers in this region and then beyond The AT Workshop is being adapted for use by child welfare organizations around the world who are hoping to pilot the workshop in their own organizations and locations History In December of 2015 University of Maine alumni and long time supporters of Helping Children Worldwide Servant Heart Research Collaborative Attachment Theory Workshop Team Julie DellaMattera Director School of Educational Leadership Higher Education and Human Development Associate Professor of Early Childhood Development and Education Melissa Landeheim Associate Dean Honors College Patricia Morell University of Maine Alumna Sierra Leone Cultural Advisor Alex Reppond Major Psychology Minor Business Administration Graduated May 2019 Alli DellaMattera Major double Sociology and Spanish Graduated May 2018 Grace Pouliot Major Elementary Education Graduated May 2019 Kim Crowley Major English Minor Marketing Graduated May 2019 12 HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE HCW Patty and Allen Morell reached out to Helping Children Worldwide s Director at that time Ginny Wagner with a request to develop a list of projects that could help address needs at the CRC These projects would be undertaken by a group of undergraduate students at UMaine s Honors College guided by faculty mentors Alli DellaMattera one of the undergraduate students who created the AT Workshop now leads the efforts of the Servant Heart Collaborative at UMaine that is continuing to work on curriculum development for use in the cultural context of other countries UMaine students Grace Alli and Alex each used their work on the AT project in their final Honor s theses Giving these students the opportunity to see themselves as powerful agents of change was equally important to the Morells Of seven ideas proposed one was to research and develop a year long 6 12 lessons curriculum for a resource scarce environment to teach caregivers to establish healthy bonds with their children who d suffered trauma Lessons would include theory and application with role playing as a key component of skill building and were initially conceived to train the residential staff of the CRC orphanage Patty Morell Allen and I are quite active as alumni on different projects that connect and encourage both students and faculty to get involved with volunteerism including research and projects that produce solutions that meet challenges locally nationally and internationally We felt it was key that students understand volunteering their time talent and resources is an important part of university life and becoming a valuable member of society Because of our own long time commitment to the CRC it was a natural progression that we wanted to connect the University of Maine with Sierra Leone in meaningful ways Dr Melissa Ladenheim When I first met with Patty and Allen they communicated that their desire to partner with UMaine was fundamentally driven by two motivations 1 to bring the capacities and resources of UMaine to help Sierra Leone solve some of its problems and 2 to enable undergraduate students to understand their privilege and their own capacity to be powerful agents of change Most importantly Patty and Allen wanted me to know that the Sierra Leoneans themselves understood good solutions but lacked resources and sufficient bandwidth literally and figuratively to implement them HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE 13

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that it could potentially lead to a thesis project which it has for three students who worked on AT that they learn about working on and being part of a team and that there was an appreciation for the contributions of a number of different perspectives and disciplines in problem solving CRC case managers Deborah Kanneh and Amie Nallo teaching the Attachment Theory tWorkshop o CRC parents and caregivers and their children The workshop was originally created as a training for the orphanage staff working directly with the children living in the orphanage When a decision was made in Sierra Leone to transition the orphanage program to a familybased model that would reintegrate all of the children living there back into family based care a change in the approach to the workshop design became necessary I was approached to meet with Patty and Allen because of my history of social justice work with UMaine students I was interested in hearing about the Morell s work because of that and also because I had been a founding member and mentor in another successful research collaborative in the Honors College so I had experience and confidence in this model As well I felt that Honors with its interdisciplinary body of students and faculty with its curriculum that asks students to grapple with big questions such as What are our obligations to others How should we live How do we create a just world and its goal of cultivating critical thinkers and informed citizens was a perfect home for this partnership Once the Morells shared the list from HCW I undertook recruiting students and faculty to the projects I didn t select the AT Workshop from the list in the end that choice arose in some ways serendipitously from the interests and skills of the students I recruited along with what seemed most possible for us to accomplish I pulled Julie in fairly early in the process Julie Dellamattera I feel so incredibly fortunate that Melissa thought of me once the AT project was decided upon I remember sitting in her office as she started her pitch for a faculty mentor She was only about 2 minutes in when I remember thinking to myself Yes Oh please let me be a part of this The idea of supporting students to be part of something bigger than themselves was so appealing And the topic was right up my alley both professionally and personally I teach aspiring educators and those who want to work in agencies supporting kids and families The cornerstone of what I espouse is attachment and respect and to be able to help undergrads from a variety of backgrounds and majors spread that message was something I couldn t say no to Dr Laura Horvath From the HCW CRC perspective the selection of the AT Workshop was ideal for that point in the life of the CRC We knew that the children living in the orphanage had suffered trauma becoming separated from parental care is itself a trauma but these children had suffered additional traumas that s what led them to placement in the CRC programs to begin with We understood that teaching the staff how to form healthy bonds with the children would help heal some of that trauma Melissa From the UMaine perspective we had multiple goals and outcomes in mind as we embarked on this project We wanted students to work on meaningful projects that the work they did would be empowering and their contributions valued that they would see what they could contribute and the implications of that work Read about about the Child Reintegration Centre s family reintegration initiative www helpingchildrenworldwide org family reintegration 14 HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE Melissa The changes at the CRC from a residential facility to a family based one had an impact on what we were doing and so learning to be flexible and how to pivot strategically also turned out to be good lessons As well it became clear part way into the work that the best course of action for our team would be to build our own training based on research and best practices as reported in the literature and I think this was absolutely pivotal for this project Laura When the decision was made to reintegrate children who had lived for years in the orphanage back into families we knew that there would be a gap in the caregivers capacity to form healthy attachments with the children they were receiving into their homes The research is clear that children grow and thrive better in loving permanent families but it s not a simple matter of just placing a child with a family Families have to be prepared for reintegration and parents and caregivers of children suffering from trauma need training and tools for how to relate to each other and build healthy attachments Parents needed to understand why their child might behave in certain ways and children who d never formed a longterm attachment to a primary caregiver need to be helped to do that It was important to equip the parents Melissa The pivot was pretty seamless in some ways because the basic idea of offering support to a caregiver was fundamental pretty much regardless of the setting for the caregiving Laura Right the caregiver was either the orphanage staff Auntie or it was the parent Same principles apply Melissa There were additional considerations of course as the Aunties by virtue of working for the CRC came with a set of experiences skills and knowledge that could not be assumed in the family based settings so really thinking about who these people are and what they were bringing to the table did influence to greater and lesser degrees depending on the concept and action step the word choice and activities of the workshop as we adapted to this new audience We had to imagine a range of literacy skills for example Laura This has turned out to be one of the workshop s greatest strengths in my opinion In HCW s global advocacy work we re connected to many programs around the world lots of them have trauma informed training similar to the workshop The difference is that the vast majority of them are designed for staff social workers who are mostly literate The AT Workshop is the only one I know of that is designed for caregivers who don t need to be literate at all Additionally rather than training social workers the focus is on equipping the caregivers and parents whose children have suffered from trauma to empower them to parent their children well This builds not only the capacity of the caregivers but empowers entire families Melissa There are some key points that are fundamental to the success of the AT project and perhaps the most important one to my mind is the intentional creation of partnerships in Sierra Leone When I first spoke with the Morells and better understood their role relationship to the CRC we agreed on the importance of also having community partners in Sierra Leone whose insider knowledge and cultural competencies were absolutely essential to our success Laura And this is another of the workshop s greatest strengths The process you used to work collaboratively and iteratively with the CRC staff on the ground to create something that is grounded in research and best practice but also incorporates the skills and knowledge of the CRC staff who helped create and use it with a deep cultural understanding is huge Even down to the tiniest detail that the photos in the presentation look like the people in the audience it really helps participants to see themselves in the workshop and feel like the concepts it teaches apply to their lives Julie We realized early on that as many of the adults speak and read only basic English that the photos were even more important The photos are in essence visual touch points for remembering key concepts If the photo resonates with the caregivers then even if they cannot HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE 15

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Helping families become stronger read the information they can connect with the information visually Alli The CRC staff were an integral part of developing a workshop that really spoke to and was relatable to the caregivers that the training was intended for To put it simply we are not experts on Sierra Leone nor it s people and despite the numerous hours of research we did to educate ourselves on daily life in Sierra Leone cultural values historic and present day traumas etc we knew the best people to give input feedback and suggestions on the AT Workshop were going to be Sierra Leoneans themselves Julie As a faculty mentor it was amazing to see that the student team immediately realized that not only were they not experts on Sierra Leone but also that they did not want to impose their privileged white view about how best to raise children upon people from a culture very different than ours This self awareness and dare I say very mature view set the foundation for deeply appreciating the collaborations and partnerships created in Sierra Leone Melissa The iterative nature of the work is one of the most important pieces here in my mind as it speaks to the value of partnerships with all the stakeholders represented Being able to work with David Amie and Deborah CRC Case Managers and later others on the CRC staff and get their input strengthened the quality and effectiveness of the training and ensured they were a good fit for the audience CHILDREN BELONG IN FAMILIES but sometimes families need help As the Child Reintegration Centre reunites orphaned and abandoned children with families they are helping these families become stable and self sufficient by providing them with mentoring skills training and case management in addition to the support for education and health care extended to all children and youth in a CRC program You can help a vulnerable family become strong through sponsorship Learn more by scanning the qr code or visit www helpingchildrenworldwide org sponsor a family 16 HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE Laura And now the curriculum is traveling outside of the borders of Sierra Leone Pilot projects are underway in Haiti and Uganda and interest continues to grow The best part of watching these take off is that you continue to apply this deeply collaborative iterative approach with new partners Photos terms and vocabulary from the existing CRC version are currently being adapted so that Haitian and Ugandan caregivers can see themselves in the materials I have such deep respect for how closely your team works with these new partners to incorporate their thoughts and culture into their version of the AT Workshop while still preserving its integrity Melissa The curriculum continues to evolve and be refined in an ongoing iterative process that engages all of the members of the AT team both in the US and in the local communities in Sierra Leone using the curriculum The AT team completed a revision of the curriculum being used by the CRC just this spring and we re excited to be partnering with Helping Haitian Angels and potentially other organizations working to reintegrate children from their orphanages back home with their families Alli When organizations are expressing a potential interest in the AT Workshop I think it is so important for them to understand that we want honest upfront and raw feedback from their team based in country so we can make the necessary changes in order for their participants to get as much as they possibly can from participating in the training A goal of this training is to build better healthier relationships between a child and their caregiver and we are willing to make edits to the modules to ensure the best opportunity to reach this goal Julie Another part of the feedback process is that we are not only editing and refining the training but we are hoping to help answer the call of we want more that we are hearing from parents and caregivers The team is in the process of creating an at home component to the training We are currently working on a handout that attendees could take home at the end of each session with activities that could be practiced at home with the children and other family members Some of these might simply be reminders for how to behave like Remember to breath and wait until you are calm to talk with your child and others will be actual activities that will promote collaboration and attachment among family members Laura It s amazing to me that this elegant and simple solution to meet a need at the CRC has grown and continues to grow The AT Workshop continues to pivot to meet the needs of an expanding population beyond what any of us could have imagined Julie This entire project has taken us all completely by surprise on so many levels I know I had no idea the profound effect this would have on me and my life We ve been fortunate to go to Sierra Leone and meet the people whose lives have been changed by our training As we sat at tables and listened to their stories of family transformation as they grabbed our hands and thanked us as we met smiling children we cried tears of joy And the crying has not stopped Every time the AT team meets with Laura we all end up in tears crying because we are so moved and happy and feeling blessed to be a part of something that has changed families in Sierra Leone and has the potential to change the lives of children everywhere The impact our training can and may have is exponentially bigger than anything we could have foreseen or dreamed of It takes my breath away Y HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE 17

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WE ARE HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE For twenty years Helping Children Worldwide has worked with our partners in Sierra Leone to help children and families break free from the cycle of extreme poverty illiteracy and disease Our initiatives are effecting real transformative change for hundreds of children and their families in Sierra Leone and are now rippling out into the world in collaborations in many countries and across several continents CHILD REINTEGRATION CENTRE MERCY HOSPITAL Child Support Program supports nearly 600 vulnerable children and youth providing for their education health care and spiritual mentoring The CRC is transforming lives developing leaders strengthening families and unlocking potential for a better Sierra Leone Prenatal and Postnatal Care Maternal and infant survival are primary to Mercy Hospital s mission Expectant mothers are monitored throughout pregnancy encouraged to give birth at the hospital and receive postnatal care Mercy s care for mothers and babies is having a powerful impact on maternal and infant suvival in Bo and the surrounding community and the addition of a surgical centre has enabled the staff to do emergency or planned caesarean sections Family Reintegration and Strengthening With the endorsement of the Sierra Leone government Helping Children Worldwide and the CRC have initiated a national and regional effort to advocate and educate a shift from a residential care model for children to family based models that reunify families and ensure permanence for all children HCW and CRC have become recognized leaders in the global movement to move orphaned and abandoned children out of institutional care and into caring families The CRC provides opportunities for parents and children to participate in workshops special events and mentoring to strengthen the attachment of children to caregivers and the newly launched Transition Coaching and Mentoring Department provides training for child welfare leaders across West Africa to learn how to change their model of care from orphanages to family based programs Through various HCW CRC activities that include HCW s Rising Tides conference the CRC s 2day Family Reunification Workshop and our ongoing partnership with UMaine s AT Workshop team the combined experience and expertise of HCW and the CRC are leading conversations in Tanzania Zambia Democratic Republic of Congo Liberia Haiti Uganda Kenya Philippines South Sudan Burkina Faso India Guatemala and of course Sierra Leone Microfinance Program helps families learn money management and small business skills so they can achieve financial stability and self sufficiency Graduates receive a small loan to launch or expand a small business Promise Scholarships provides secondary school graduates with the opportunity to pursue university vocational or technical education according to their unique potential and God given talents Child Reintegration Centre student Hawa Yokie in white shirt and black pants helps her family prepare dinner As the recipient of a Promise Scholarship Hawa is currently studying to become a Community Health Officer at Njala University in Bo Hawa lost her father ten years ago and her mother is nearly blind She is the first person in her family to go to school beyond the primary level I can t imagine how I could have gotten an education if not for the CRC Hawa says Village Outreach Mercy Hospital provides mobile care to a network of villages surrounding Bo to serve people without access to health care including malnutrition screening and treatment prenatal and postnatal care malaria testing and treatment and HIV testing Nutrition Program Mercy Hospital screens babies and toddlers for malnutrition and failure to thrive enrolling an average of 100 children monthly to receive supplementary feeding and monitoring and an average of 25 children graduate from the program each month Malaria Testing and Treatment Malaria testing and treatment are available to children and adults at Mercy Hospital and via village outreach Malaria is one of Sierra Leone s highest burdens of disease and causes of death A partnership with the United Methodist Church General Board of Global Ministries enables Mercy s malaria patients to benefit from monthly donations of medical testing supplies and the most effective drug treatments currently available Surgical Centre Mercy Hospital s new operating theatre enables the staff to perform scheduled and emergency surgeries including caesarian sections meaning the difference between life and death for many patients The first floor holds two separate operating theaters recovery room waiting area and office space The second floor houses two new wards a private ward a conference room and exam rooms VILLAGE PARTNERS HCW s newest initiative is expanding services to the villages already served by the Child Reintegration Centre and Mercy Hospital with a three year plan to provide family empowerment micro finance training sanitation clean water sources school development and improved infrastructure Through community mapping surveys to solicit information from the village residents and leadership we can determine which improvements are most needed and will be the most effective in lifting the community out of poverty for the good of all of the families and their children Learn how you can get involved in a mission that will transform lives including your own Scan the qr code at right or visit us online at www helpingchildrenworldwide org get involved 18 HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE 19

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Children in Lemblema Village which is served by the Child Reintegration Centre and Mercy Hospital attend school in an outdoor classroom Learn how you can sponsor a student sponsor a family or partner with a village to help children and families thrive at www helpingchildrenworldwide org Transform lives in Sierra Leone www helpingchildrenworldwide org give Combined Federal Campaign 44370 Child Rescue Centre UMC Advance 14377A 14101 Parke Long CT STE T Chantilly VA 20151 703 793 9521 www helpingchildrenworldwide org 20 HELPING CHILDREN WORLDWIDE FALL 2020 MAGAZINE Mercy Hospital UMC Advance 15173A Join the conversation on social media

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