Caption | One of beneficiaries of the Residual caseload of Reparation Programme collecting her grants at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Teller
You cannot eat a rat and get stock at its tail. This is exactly why NaCSA, the principal agency charged by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to handle the country’s Reparations programme, is seeing taking the War Widows and Victims of Sexual Violence to the end of the road in drawing down the curtain of the nation’s sad chapter of war.
Almost a year after serving a total of 7,957 out of the recorded 8045 caseload of War Widows and Victims of Sexual Violence, the Government of Sierra Leone through NaCSA has again commenced the payment of additional two thousand two hundred and fifty (2,250) women
Princess Fornah (age 30) lives at Kissy in Freetown. She is a survival as well as a war-wounded. She was at age seven (7) when she encountered her agony. Now, she is a single mother of two.
Because of her history, she has been abandoned by her spouse. She is having trouble with accommodation as well as with the intermittent pains from the old wounds.
In fact, Princess could not make it during the first phase of payment last year owing to poor health precipitated by her wounds. She has almost lost hope of getting this money. The news of the payment was broken to her by a relative. Princess cannot afford to make the same mistake twice. She was among the first batch of women to reach NaCSA headquarters at Charlotte Street in Freetown where she presented her Blue Slip in return for the payment slip which she took to the nearest Sierra Leone Commercial Bank outlet to collect her rehabilitation grant of one million two hundred thousand Leones (Le 1,200,000.00).
While commending the Government of Sierra Leone through NaCSA for standing by their words in ensuring that ‘every War Widow and Victim of Sexual Violence are paid’, she pleaded with NaCSA to include her in other safety net programmes. The money, she noted could have been used to start up petty business but continual humiliation from her land lord has forced her to use all the cash in settling her rent. So for Princess, accommodation is of dire need to her and her kids.
Caption | Cross section of beneficiaries of the Residual caseload of Reparation Programme collecting her grants at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Head quarters in Freetown
Gramma Dora Kamara (approximately age 70) who lives with her grand children at Wellington, Freetown has different use for her grant. Receiving this money while she is still alive has always being her dream. “Now that I have got my money, I will ‘open table’ (start up petty business) so that the money will not get finished. From this, I could be able to meet the needs of my grand children”, she explained.
It is not only Gramma Dora that wants to use her money to start up business. Balu Kamara (age 38) from Kissy Freetown and who currently works in one of the security firms in the country is considering to start up her own petty business using the one million two hundred thousand Leones (Le 1,200,000.00) paid to her as an alternative livelihood. “This cash will surely help me. Despite what I earn from my security job, the business will serve as a fall-back in time of challenges”, Balu revealed.
Like these women in Freetown, their counterparts in the provinces all set with their own plans for the money, which will definitely form the end of the road of the country’s long walk to close the sad chapter of its ugly war history.
A total of 3.5 billion Leones has been provided by the Government of Sierra Leone to NaCSA to undertake the entire payment process across the 16 political districts in the country. The process which has already started in Freetown will be cascaded in the provinces from 10th – 28th September 2019 and will be preceded by Income Generation and Financial Literacy trainings for recipients; hence, bringing the Sierra Leone Reparations programme to close.