Salesians of Don Bosco West Africa Province

Salesians of Don Bosco West Africa Province

Girls Shelter - The story of Suntia: Don Bosco Saved Me!

February 6,,2017 - Sierra Leone

My name is Suntia Ronald, a Nigerian by origin. I came in contact with Don Bosco when I was undergoing tough time with my dad. That had been happening since we were in Nigeria and it continued even when we came to Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone we originally lodged in a Guest House while we were searching for a house to rent. During this period I was selling different types of items just to raise money for our up-keeping and to foot the bill for the rent. Subsequently, I was going around with a dash card begging people for money; eventually I became the bread winner of the house. Unfortunately, my own biological father sexually abused me. 

It was an unimaginable experience for me. These abuses were taking place on a daily basis. I used to go out in the morning to sell and I came back home very late in the night. If much sales were not made, my father used to beat me and “rained” all sort of abusive language on me. I had no time to rest and no family member to cry out to. This went on and on. I became disgusted, sad and helpless. One day when I went out to sell a thought came into my mind: that this menace had to stop and I had no alternative but to report the matter to the Calaba Town Police station. In the Police station they took my statement and I was referred to Don Bosco for shelter and protection. 

I came to Don Bosco heartbroken and traumatized. While in Don Bosco my story started to change from a state of trauma to that of tranquillity and peace of mind. I had time to play and to rest and I felt protected for the first time in my life. Medication and clothes were given to me. Social workers were like mothers to me, they had time to listen to me. We conversed together and they had series of counselling session which helped me a lot.

They provided recreational facilities and conducted some outing to recreational and educational sites. These outings were also an opportunity for healing and discovering another world, with different colours and new meaning. I had never experienced something like that in my life before. I had time to read books of different writers which helped me to develop my intelligence. I spent over a year with Don Bosco, in Girls Shelter.

My mother, who should have come to my rescue, rejected me. Don Bosco even visited the Nigerian Embassy to see how they could help for my reunification to Nigeria but to no avail. As an alternative I was fostered to the Principal of Saint Joseph Secondary School and I was enrolled in Senior Secondary School. I was during my exams that I realized my reading habit in Don Bosco helped me as I topped my class. Don Bosco did everything for me. I was enrolled in Hope+ programme which was a scholarship scheme. They paid my school fees, provided uniforms, bag, exercise books, text books, shoes, lunch and transportation on weekly basis. Above all, were the follow-up visits which they did both at my home and my school to ensure that there was no problem. When problems arouse, they came in to help me solve them. Don Bosco, the social workers, were always there for me. With their help, I was able to sit for my WASSCE (SSS final examination) and came out with an excellent result. Presently I am pursuing a career in Social Work at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. I was motivated to do social work because of the situation I found myself in and how I was rescued by Don Bosco through the help of social workers in Girls’ Shelter. My desire is to come back to Don Bosco for a second time. This time, not as a beneficiary but as a social worker, in order to save other girls who have experience violence just like me and to be a role model. 

I wonder how my life would have been without the intervention of Don Bosco. Don Bosco changed my life, helped me to overcome my trauma and above all, gave me an opportunity to study and bring out all my potential. I am thankful and I hope one day I will become part of Don Bosco, to work in their mission. 

Topics: FambulDon Bosco ShelterSierra Leonegirls