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Legal Aid Reintegration Programme changing lives

16,Aug 2016
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By Joseph Dumbuya

Sorie Sesay is among the first set of clients of the Legal Aid Board to benefit from the partnership with the National Farmers Federation. The two had their first meeting on 14 July 2016 in which a cross section of the Executive of the Federation offered to assist with the reintegration of beneficiaries by providing them jobs on their farms.

 

Sorie is proud for the opportunity to rebuild his life after spending three years and three months on remand at the Pademba Road Correctional Center on allegation of unlawful carnal knowledge. The Board secured his discharge on 16 May 2016. Like many beneficiaries of the scheme, with no source of livelihood the transition into mainstream society had been tough for him. So, when the opportunity came, he grabbed it.

Following the publication in the newspapers about the assistance the Federation is offering to beneficiaries of the scheme, Sorie wasted no time in rushing to the head office of the Board on Guma Building to declare his interest in the jobs that were on offer. He was put in contact with the President of the Federation, Mr. Jesse Olu John who offered him a job on his farm.

On Wednesday, August 10, Sorie made an impromptu visit to the Board to say thank you and also provide update on how life has changed for him since taking up a farming job. ‘I am now working at Mr. Jesse Olu John’s farm at Levuma in the Waterloo Area,’ he told staff of the Legal Aid Board. ‘I am paid a monthly salary and on top of that I am given free accommodation and feeding by my employer.’ Sorie shares the farm house with one other employee.  

Sorie works on a rice farm at Levuma. ‘I am also preparing the land for the planting of maize and cucumber in September,’ he said. ‘I just cannot thank the Legal Aid Board enough for this opportunity. It has changed my life completely.’

 

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles told Sorie to listen to his boss and be committed to his new job. ‘Hundreds of your colleagues do not have a source of livelihood since they were released by the court and this is not because they have not been trying,’ she told Sorie. ‘This is an opportunity you just cannot afford to misuse because we have several people on the waiting list.’

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