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Two Ministers, High Commissioner, Prisons Director Launch Charity In the UK

Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Sheka Tarawalie and Director of Prisons Sanpha Bilo Kamara purposely came from Sierra Leone to launch the Art Resourceful Tourism Sierra Leone (ARTSL – UK branch) on Saturday 24th August 2013. From London, they were accompanied to Reading by the Resident Minister Northern Province Alie D. Kamara and the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, H.E. Edward M. Turay.

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ARTSL’s main focus is to raise funds to assist in the rehabilitation of prisoners of all kinds and for prisoners’ children to benefit from the Juvenile Education Survival Programme. Irrespective of the crimes committed, former inmates need to be transitioned back into society which requires programmes, both educational and practical application, that would enable them to be more productive members of society. The relevance of such a charity couldn’t have been more necessary for a forward-moving and developing nation such as Sierra Leone.

Gracing the occasion at the Coronation Square was the Mayor of Reading, Marian Livingston, who said she was humbled to be invited to such a cause. She expressed much interest in Sierra Leone as she’d always heard wonderful things about a country that was naturally blessed with not just mineral wealth but also with scenery that is rivaled by few countries in the world. The mayor also expressed her enthusiasm for this cause by giving a presentation on the absolute need for such a charity and touching on a few other issues such as women who suffer domestic violence and the benefits of equality. She was so thrilled about this cause that she promised to share and publicize all photos of the occasion on her Face book page in order to attract funding for the charity.

The Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Sheka Tarawalie, who without a doubt was pleased and honoured to be a part of this forum, in his speech, confirmed the government of Sierra Leone’s support for the efficient rehabilitation of ex-inmates and to support any idea that would give the children of prisoners the same opportunities as other children. The Deputy Minister said  this was not a government scheme, but praised the charity, especially its founder Sheka B.A. Mansaray, for what they are doing, assuring them of the full and undivided backing of the government.

Another person to join the bandwagon of enthusiasm for this charity was the High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Edward Turay. He stressed how easy it was to forget about the people who go in and out of the “system” with no trade or emotional foundation to come out to the real world, only to fall by the wayside or repeat their offences and thus getting stuck in a vicious cycle. Mr. Turay also reiterated his undivided support for the charity and asked to be called upon for any assistance the High Commission might be able to help with.

In his statement Resident Minister Alie D. Kamara said as the minister in charge of the largest region in Sierra Leone, he was prepared to provide any land needed for the construction of prisons or schools for prisoners’ kids. Director of Prisons Sanpha Bilo Kamara revealed that Sierra Leone has 17 prisons with a total of 3417 inmates currently. He lauded the idea of inmates’ rehabilitation and education for prisoners’ kids.

The welcome address was delivered by the UK Director of ARTSL Samuel Fenty Sesay while the Deputy Director Mark Spratley gave the vote of thanks.

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