Sierra Leone - Betty, "God loves you and takes care of you": from the streets of Freetown to the Salesian house

26 September 2018

(ANS - Freetown) - Betty is 14 years old and has lived in the streets of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, since she was 9. She is a child, with the face, body and mind of a child. She has survived in the only way a girl can survive on the streets: prostituting herself. They have used her, abused and discarded her, but she is intelligent and very active, although she carries within herself an immense load of anger and frustration. The social workers and the Salesians of "Don Bosco Fambul" met her and her life has changed since then.

At the Don Bosco Fambul reception center, Betty was a lot to handle for the social workers and their collaborators because there were continuous clashes and discussions with her. From time to time she would run away, but then she would go to the director's office with a strong sense of guilt. Betty tells of her pains and her internal struggles to Fr Jorge Crisafulli SDB and there is no other answer but a deep and infinite compassion for her "because," says the director of Don Bosco Fambul director, "she lives in continuous pain."

After her last attack of rage in the Salesian center, Betty wrote a small letter.

"Dear Fr Jorge. I love you very much. I want you to be my father. May God bless you. Sorry for what I did the other night (she had fought with the operators and wanted to leave the center). Please forgive me. Can you forgive me? Yes or no?" She signed the letter with a seal: the palm of her hand pressed on the paper.

"How can I not forgive her? What fault does she have if the circumstances of life have dragged her into the hell of prostitution? I never stop saying to her 'it's not your fault', 'you're beautiful and intelligent', 'God loves you and takes care of you', 'do not stop dreaming', 'you're a masterpiece from the hands of God' ... ," says Fr Crisafulli.

At Don Bosco Fambul they know that Betty needs attention and affection. She needs to know with certainty that she is not judged or discriminated against, that she must feel loved simply because she is Betty. It is precisely there that one can verify the miracle of her transformation, as has happened for so many girls the Salesians have been saving from prostitution in the past two years: with kindness, patience and unconditional love for them.

The Salesians know that most of the time people start to change when they are treated with affection and accepted as they are.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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