PROPEL, a Non-Governmental Organization that is providing support, care and oversight on Health, Education and Eco-Tourism in Sierra Leone has donated food and non-food items worth millions of Leones to victims of the recent fire disaster at Congo town, west of Freetown.
The momentous event which took place at the burnt site last Saturday was highly witnessed by community elders, alongside the media, as well as victims and their families, while waiting to receive their packages. The assorted donated items include bags of rice, onions, cooking oil, provisions, educational materials like books, bags, uniforms, shoes etc, together with some amount of money enclosed in envelope for each and every victim.
PROPEL is said to have first conducted a needs assessment in collaboration with the office of Disaster Management Unit, wherein they took note of the number of children affected during the incident. PROPEL, being an organization that stands to promote education, saw the need to immediately intervene and help salvage the emergency situation of school going pupils affected during the cause of the fire incident.
The event which was facilitated by the Sierra Leone Civil Rights Coalition, was highly appreciated by the community elders, alongside victims who showered laurels upon laurels on all those, who in diverse ways, played role in actualizing the event successful.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Madam Hazel Pearce posited that she was pleased to be part of the ceremony, and was impressed with the gesture, even though she was never affected directly, but was astonished with this ugly development, which prompted her to call on organizations to render assistance to the community and the victims. She offered special prayers for PROPEL to grow and expand far and beyond.
PROPEL Chief Operating Officer, Issa Timbo, expressed that his organization should have come earlier, but that it was better late than never. He added that part of PROPEL’s vision to serve humanity is the more reason why they shared their sympathy to the victims, but also want to thank God Almighty, more so when no life was consumed by the fire. “Because of our concern for humanity, we therefore work together to ensure we support the children who suffered the consequences of the fire incident. Therefore, we are donating some of these items as part of our support to the fire victims.”
Western Area Coordinator, National Disaster Management Agency, Gerard King, expressed sympathy to the community and victims on behalf of his office. He explained how the Agency was established in 2020 to mitigate and prevent disaster, and as well proffer solution. ‘’Part of our job is to manage disaster issues and coordinate with partners.”
PROPEL is a reliable partner and one of the first partner that has come to assist the people’’ King said. He added that it is because of the good working relationship between PROPEL and the Agency that they are able to provide good result. PROPEL’s focus and vision is on Education. He appreciated the good work of PROPEL for the good thing they are doing for the nation and as well admonish the community to beware of activities within our communities that can result to disaster Electrical malfunctioning. ‘’For this fire incident, we were told it was caused by mosquito coil burning, and I want to advice that we beware of the electricians we hire to do our electrical work. There are lots of quack electricians, and we must ensure we get those qualified electricians to do our electrical works.”
Chief Executive Officer, PROPEL, Madam Belinda Botha, said she cannot explain the pain she is going through for the community and victims of the fire incident.
‘’Our priority is to send the children to school and this gesture will not only stop here as we will continue to provide oversight and monitoring. These items are part of our support to government flagship program which is education.
These items are not for sale, she reiterated, pointing out that the provision put together is for the eight children who are school pupils that suffered from the fire incidents, and therefore promised to provide university scholarship to students who prove well in math and English. Each household was provided with a bag of rice, onions, water, provisions, cooking oil, books, etc and an amount of Le 250,000 each enclosed in envelope.
A mattress was also provided for the old woman, who is presently homeless, and supplement for the child in her possession.
Delivering the vote of thanks, Jariatu Bangura said she lost her voice due to the disaster, and thanked PROPEL for this gesture, explaining how timely it was. She cried for more support, expressing how some of them are homeless, but are still looking forward for more support.
WARD Committee Member, Kadiatu Kamara, who also doubled as Chairlady, speaking on behalf of the Ward Councilor, expressed sympathy to the victims and thanked PROPEL for the laudable donation, while calling on other organizations to emulate the footsteps of PROPEL.