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21st January 2019

4 Charities Distribute Rice to 4,000 Destitute on Christmas Eve in Sierra Leone!

By a press release (27/12/18)

Four charities have put smile on the faces of destitute after they dished out rice to 4000 poverty-stricken Sierra Leoneans on Christmas Eve.


Reports say the four charitable organisations include Caritas Freetown, who in partnership with the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Healey International Relief Foundation and LANYI provided relief food for destitute. (Photo: Destitute lined-up to receive charity food in Sierra Leone).

Foundation conducted the annual interfaith dialogue in the East End of Freetown at the African Muslims Agency compound. The event was complimented by rice distribution to Muslims and Christians. The dialogue and donation of rice benefited mostly poor and less privilege brothers and sisters and the general public.

At the event, Muslims and Christians religious leaders preached about love, compassion, charity, and peace. "The Interfaith Dialogue enables us to celebrate our faiths and embrace the unique foundations each contributes to tolerance and diversity". Said a community Imam.

The religious dialogue was very thorough, sincere and practical. The religious leaders were so passionate about the unique opportunity being carried out serving a large congregation of religious faithfuls.

Apostle Dora Dumbuya aka Mammy Dumbuya from the Jesus is Lord Ministries took part in the dialogue and shared love with the destitute. Her message was very solid, she admonished all about the importance of religious tolerance and the need to share love with one another. She explained about the birth of Jesus Christ and how it connects with sharing and caring. She referenced the feeding that Jesus did and linked that to humanitarian actions today.

Sheik Fomba Swarray, representing the Muslim Community recalled the feeding that Jesus Christ in reference to the Qur'anic teachings of Anabi Isaa (Jesus), who fed a 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. He sung "leh we tell am tenki" a typical Christian song. Sheik Fomba delivered sermons from the Bible and Qur'an. He is a versatile religious leader.

He was exemplary in religious tolerance. He expressed happiness about the inclusiveness of both religions in the rice supplies. The word of God will bless the rice so much that when we eat just few spoons we will be satisfied because it is blessed. The word of God will also make the rice filled with medicinal properties that can heal any sickness that is why we will not only give the rice but give it with blessings from Allah, he exclaimed.

He went further to sing more Christian songs and ended with prayers for the country, our leaders, the donors who provided and facilitated the donation and for all the people who were present today at the dialogue and distribution. (Photo: Caritas Director Father Peter Konteh meets Pope Francis).

Rev. Fr. Peter Konteh, Executive Director, Caritas Freetown stated his happiness to witness the distribution and to show the testimony of our faith. He said, at this festive times not everyone has enough to celebrate, and hence the reason why it is important to share and this what Caritas are doing. He said, those who shipped the rice are practicing Buddhist and we here helping to distribute are from a Catholic organization but not everyone is a practicing Catholic some staff are Muslim and some are Christians from other denominations.

We have different religions but we have the same God, that is why today whether Muslim, Christian or Buddhist we all are here to share love as all these religions have service to the poor as a significant part of the faith and practice. Hence, that is why we set this Interfaith Dialogue to come together once a year to do a joint service, pray together and share love. We know all these religions provide support for varied target groups focusing on the poor and vulnerable. So we need this platform to do it jointly and feel the love in each other's heart.

Even though I am a development worker also I do not like the word poor so I always say those who do not have opportunities or privileges now are equal to all, they may not have all needed but they are mostly intelligent but lack of opportunities limits them. In Caritas where i am from, the meaning is love in action. The most important purpose of this event is to solidify our religious tolerance and strengthen our compassion and love for all human kinds. Other countries do not enjoy this type of tolerance so we want to reach them all how to be tolerant and still live in diversity he ended.

Director of Social Welfare, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs thanked Caritas, Healey,Tzu Chi and LANYI. He said, these organizations are not only helping the destitute but also helping to consolidate our religious tolerance. He added that religious tolerance is the bedrock for religious harmony and we as a Ministry supports your partnership very much he told the gathering. We will continue to pray that God will continue to nurture this asset for us that we are enjoying in this country.

He also said that as the Ministry that is responsible for religious affairs is very thankful to good partners like Caritas and their networks, we recently organized a very fine Hajj pilgrimage we all will agree that the process was done in a very transparent manner with all the states well-coordinated. He ended by thanking Caritas and its partners again for a successful event.

A total of about 3,789 beneficiaries were provided for. Among which about 2,274 are Muslims and about 1,515 Christians were serve alongside. It was an overwhelming process with about 71 volunteers, 5 police officers and 3 private security guards to help maintain the orderliness.

But for the desperate need of the beneficiaries and the demonstration of hunger it was hard to control the crowd but thank God for the religious readers who were tireless in helping to talk to them and ensuring that we keep the people in queue while we run a high speed process. Serving humanity with dignity.

Thank you Healey International Relief Foundation; Thank you Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation; Thank you LANYI; Thank you Caritas Freetown and all religious houses especially Jesus is Lord Ministries, African Muslim Agency Sister Safiatu Tunis, Council of Churches Sierra Leone, Inter Religious Council and all kind hearted volunteers who worked like machines. God bless and Merry Christmas to you all.

TRIBUTE: Alpha Shaw

Journalist, Student Activist, Leader, 1958-1980

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