During the conflict in Sierra Leone, many innocent civilians, including young children, were amputated by anti-government forces. Many of the amputees died of blood loss or lack of medical attention, but some survived and are today in the care of various organizations, who provide them with shelter, food, medical attention and clothes. However, the assistance is of a temporary nature and does not help them reintegrate into society and re-establish their dignity as human beings. Before the amputations, they had worked as teachers, mechanics, farmers or workers - jobs which they can no longer hold due to their handicap.
The Sierra Leone community is also willing to help the amputees, accepting that it is a communal obligation - essential if real peace and reconciliation are to be achieved. To respond to the amputees' needs, and using the local resources, the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, with support from the Federation, has opened a job agency for amputees. Under this programme, unemployed amputees are registered. Potential employers in the local business community, government offices and the private sector are asked to consider amputees for new jobs, and are given the CVs of potential amputee employees. The program was officially launched on 31 January, with the announcement of the first six jobs created for amputees - as security guards. It is expected that the positive publicity will result in employers coming forward with more job offers. Sierra Leone Red Cross staff will visit all major employers, asking their support and calling on their humanitarian spirit. The program aims to identify and fill 100 jobs for amputees within the first year of operation, a target which, due to the positive reaction so far, is expected to be surpassed. In the medium to long term perspective, the Red Cross Society hopes to expand the scope of the program to cover other disabled groups as well as to include skills training for the youngest amputees.
WEEKLY NEWS IS PUBLISHED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES
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