|© UNICEF Sierra Leone/2012/CharlyCoxCommunication
|Aminata in her hometown of Makeni
On a daily basis, Theresa Koroma, of DCI Sierra Leone, works closely with the judicial and police officials in the country in order to improve its juvenile justice system. She states, “I advocate for children not to be put in prison with adults, I negotiate with the police for them to settle minor juvenile cases on community level rather than in court. And I visit children who have been identified as being vulnerable, who live in constant fear of abuse and need counselling and help.” One story helps to highlight Koroma’s powerful work.
One day, a young girl, Amina (name changed), was lured to an elderly man’s house with promises of receiving money for her schooling, At the house, the man forced her into sexual contact, attempting to rape her. Aminata, however, cried out for help and was able to escape.
From here, the traumatized Aminata sought the support of her grandmother, who immediately directed the girl to Ms. Koroma. Koroma launched into action. She took Aminata to a local hospital for examination and accompanied her to a police station to help give her statement. Clearly, her contact with Koroma has had a lasting impact, as Aminata stated, “When I finish school I want to become a lawyer. Rights have been taken from us women and I want to stop that!”
Stories such as these not only demonstrate the need for organizations like DCI and workers like Theresa Koroma, but also the positive changes that DCI has across the globe.