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Page added on April 25, 2012

Sierra Leone Deputy Information Minister pursues HANCI kids in USA

Sierra Leone Deputy Information Minister pursues HANCI kids in USA thumbnail

The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, who doubles as Co-Government Spokesman, Sheka Tarawalie  (in photo), has made a “significant breakthrough” in Government’s efforts to find a resolution to the matter relating to the 29 adopted Sierra Leonean children taken to the USA through the organization, Help A Needy Child International (HANCI).

“Indeed I can say some progress has been made in establishing initial contacts, as I was able to talk with an intermediary who represents the views of the American families that adopted these children. I have been able to listen to the side of these families, I have heard their concerns, and I’ll report back to the Attorney General who is desirous that this matter is resolved in the best interest of the children,” the Co-Government Spokesman said in Washington, USA.

“As a government, inasmuch as we are determined to follow the law to the letter, which is why the activities of HANCI have been suspended and investigations mounted, we are also simultaneously following the spirit of the law, which is to enhance good relationships and peace among peoples. We have to follow the human path, the humane lane, the humanitarian road, taking into consideration the traumatic circumstances under which the children were adopted and the good intentions of the families here. There were some Sierra Leonean families that even thought their children had been killed or simply untraceable, but I’ve found out that all the kids are well and doing well. And the good thing is that, from my interface with the intermediary, none of the American families are saying they wouldn’t want these children to re-establish contacts with their families in Sierra Leone.”

Minister Tarawalie stated that indeed there were some mistakes done in the processing of the adoption of the children on the part of HANCI officials at the time, “but we have to first realize that management has changed hands at HANCI and there’s a new crop of leaders at the helm who were not part of the set-up that negotiated the adoptions.” He went on to acknowledge that HANCI has generally been helping many other children who stand to suffer if the organization ceases its operations. “The suspension of HANCI is in place, but it is not permanent as we recognize the good work the organization has been doing over the years, apart from the unfortunate aspect of the adoptions.”

The Minister appreciated that the American families would not have had any bad intentions, as according to the information made available to him, all the children are being provided for adequately. “What I learnt, which is a concern to the American families, is that they actually want these contacts to be established as soon as possible, because these kids would soon reach the age where they would no longer be under their supervision but would move home to live by themselves in accordance with American law. They want this to be done quickly, but they also want their own contributions to the kids’ welfare to be acknowledged and not presented in a negative light.”

The Minister also propagated the Government’s ‘Agenda for Change’ by visiting the studios of the Voice of America where he granted both radio and television interviews.

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