Hope Sierra Leone has held a peace and reconciliation seminar in Makeni, the former stronghold of the Revolutionary United Front.
In the town of Bo a similar event was held on December 12-13th, bringing together for the first time both members of the RUF and the CDF in a two-day peace and reconciliation seminar. Present at this historic occasion were a senior military delegation from the UN mission in Sierra Leone stationed in Bo Town, Minister of Internal Affairs and National Security Chief Samuel Hinga Norman, the Regent Chief of Kakua Chiefdom Bo, the press and distinguished citizens.
Hope Sierra Leone also held community workshops in various towns on Initiatives of Change values and non-violent communication techniques with a profound effect on the participants. Fisherman Alimamy Kargbo from Tissana said afterwards: 'I used to fight a lot with my wife, and during this workshop I have been transformed from committing domestic violence to treating my wife with respect, love and care. I've now learnt about Moral Re-armament values and how to communicate compassionately with my family.'
RUF and Hope Sierra Leone are now working together on a new 100-acre farming project in Makeni. The CDF in the South are also working with Hope Sierra Leone on a 150-acre swamp rice project.
Hope Sierra Leone is now harvesting rice planted as a pilot project covering 40 acres and involving about fifty families in two different communities, one of them thoroughly ravaged during the war. Local farmer Salieu S. Kamara said: 'After the war, I thought it was the end of my life, my family and my very existence. But, thank God, through the Hope Sierra Leone Empowerment Program, I now own a rice field. I can now support myself and my family. Hope Sierra Leone has given me new hope in my life.'
The President of Sierra Leone has pledged his personal support for the Hope Sierra Leone program, and two television documentaries are both shown once a month on national television.
More info available on the Hope Sierra Leone website.