Sierra Leone’s leading Telecoms Company, Orange Sierra Leone has helped the community of physically challenged people with food items running into millions of Leones.
The items include 100 cartons of tomato, 95 gallons of cooking oil, 100 bags of onions, 100 bags of sugar, 100 bags of 50Kg bags of rice and 100 bags of medicated soap.
The items were received by the Disability Rights Movement for physically challenged women in the four districts of Freetown, Bo, Bonthe and PortLoko.
The donation took place at the Ministry of Social Welfare at New England Ville in Freetown. In her statement during the donation ceremony, the Minister of Social Welfare, Baindu Dassama was appreciative of Orange Sierra Leone.
She said the donation was a big help for the physically challenged women. The Minister also promised to partner with the donor, Orange Sierra Leone in the distribution of the food items.
Madam Dassama also reminded the audience that her ministry was set up to advocate the interest of the physically challenged as well as the needy and less privileged.
She called on the people of Sierra Leone not to see the physically challenged as a liability to society but should be cared for. The physically challenged, she went on, were important and had be to treated with the respect and care they deserve.
The Minister also spoke about some rogue organisations who received aid for the physically challenged and ended up going into their private use.
Handing over the items to the beneficiaries, Orange Foundation Director, Jestina Betts said the donation of the food items demonstrates the company’s commitment to the welfare of the physically challenged women of this country.
Madam Betts said the donation was also to touch the people’s lives adding that they would continue to support them during difficult times. At a time of the pandemic, she went on, Orange Sierra Leone was faced with calls from DRIM for aid.
She said the calls were granted owing to the humanitarian need. She also said they had been working with the community for some time now on different projects. Madam Betts also assured that the telecoms company would be supporting the deaf and dumb, School for the Blind and the Sierra Leone Autistic Society.
Corporate Social Responsibility, Madam Betts said, was never taken lightly noting that it was central to the company’s operations.
She said Orange Sierra Leone had built and maintained close partnership with corporate entities, ministries departments and agencies as well other organisations.
In 2015, the Orange Foundation Director went on, the company partnered with the Ministry of Social Welfare in supporting 50 Ebola orphans in SOS villages. She said the Foundation would continue to help the orphans in collaboration with SOS by providing lodging, feeding, clothing, medicine and schooling.
The company was also appreciated by the Executive Director of the Disability Rights Movement, Dr Vandy Konneh for the donation.
Mr Konneh described the donation as important and timely. The donation came at the time of need. He said the donation portrayed the company as that one that is committed to the welfare of physically challenged women in Sierra Leone.
One of the beneficiaries, Mabinty Kamara registered her profound gratitude to the company for the donation. The donation, she said, sustained their livelihood adding that the intervention by Orange Sierra Leone was timely.
The donation of the food items was part of a series of recent humanitarian interventions embarked upon by Orange Sierra Leone. The previous week, Orange Sierra Leone Women (OSLW) donated food and non-food items to 10 lactating mothers at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) popularly known as Cottage Hospital in the eastern part of Freetown.
OSLW is a sub-organisation within Orange Sierra Leone that seeks to empower women within Orange Sierra Leone, and impact the lives of women outside the company.
During the donation, President for OSLW, Martha Sumaila said the donation was made to cushion the impact of post-natal complications and to improve the health of the mothers.
It was also hoped that the donation would encourage women to deliver in health facilities instead of their homes.
The degree of vulnerability among the lactating mothers prompted the donation.
The most vulnerable was a lactating mother at Ward-2, Hawa Bah who was on a wheel chair immediately after she gave birth to twins.
She also found it difficult to hear and talk properly. She spoke only at the time Orange Sierra Leone donated to her the items.
From the wheel-chair, Madam Bah thanked Orange Sierra Leone for the gesture. The suffering which she would have encountered in breastfeeding has been eased. The nurse-in-charge, Lucy Lebbie said Orange Sierra Leone’s donation came at the right time.
She said the women were selected on the basis of need. Nurse Lebbie however informed the donor that the ward contained one of the most vulnerable lactating mothers. She said further donations by the company would be highly welcomed. In response to the donation, the matron similarly thanked the company for helping the lactating mothers.
She was highly hopeful that the food items would immensely help them in breastfeeding their children.
The donation of the food items was also in furtherance of a maternal health project launched almost two months ago for women in Kroo Bay, one of the biggest slum communities in Freetown.