Lucee (from the back to protect her identity)
“I am what I am through AdvocAid. I can read…and design beads, which I can sell to earn a living for myself”.
On behalf of all of the women we have supported over the past few months, we’d like to say a huge thank you for your ongoing support of AdvocAid’s work. A core component of what AdvocAid does in Sierra Leone, is to provide welfare items to women in Correctional Centres. The conditions in which they live are often deplorable, and as part of our remit to ensure human rights are upheld, we believe these women should have the bare necessities to be able to live.
A standard package that is provided to women includes: one cotton lappa (large piece of material wrapped around like a skirt), slippers, bathing/laundry soap, large toothpaste, toothbrush, Vaseline, knickers, sanitary pads, gari (a popular flour made from cassava tubers) and sugar.
Since our last report, we have given these packs to seven women in Port Loko, three women in Kono and 26 women in Kenema. We have also provided 13 women in Makeni with milk, sugar and agidie porrridge provisions.
As well as supporting women in correctional centres, we ensure their children have basic provisions as well. Since our last report, we have given one welfare package to a mother with a baby. The baby pack consists of: Baby clothes, a dozen nappies, baby oil, baby Vaseline, baby shampoo a feeding bottle and baby powder. These packages are put together and distributed by our Social Worker.
One lady who has recently benefitted from an AdvocAid welfare package is Lucee (name changed to protect identity). Lucee is 19 years old and was recently released from Freetown’s Female Correctional Centre.
One of AdvocAid’s paralegals first met Lucee in 2013, where she was being detained under the accusation of murdering her boyfriend. She stayed in prison awaiting trial for two years, where she had no representation, visitors or support.
In Sierra Leone, the provisions in prison are almost non-existent, so detainees depend on visits from their friends and family to have any clothes, washing and sanitary items as well as medical supplies. With no visitors, Lucee didn't have any of these.
AdvocAid has supported Lucee in a number of ways, including providing her with basic welfare items including those listed above. Lucee also attended literacy and numeracy classes run by AdvocAid and our partner EducAid - to support Lucee’s learning, we provided her with a pen, pencil, ruler, book and reading books. AdvocAid also provided Lucee with a Lawyer who dealt with her case from the beginning to end; she was discharged on 28 July.
Lucee had never been to school; she was illiterate, as are over 80% of women in Sierra Leone. With AdvocAid’s support, she attended literacy and numeracy classes and gained bead making skills.
When Lucee was released, the first thing she did was walk proudly into the AdvocAid office with her Literacy certificate. Lucee is now optimistic about her future, and is looking to start working as a petty trader: “I am what I am through AdvocAid. I can read…and design beads, which I can sell to earn a living for myself”.
It is only with the support of people like you, that we can ensure women’s time in Correctional Centres is rehabilitative. We work to ensure their human and legal rights are upheld behind bars, and that they’re provided with an education and skills to make them stronger, and equal members of society upon release.
If you’d like to continue supporting this project, please consider making a donation today, and we can ensure more women like Lucee have a brighter future ahead of them. Thank you.
Women receiving welfare packages