By Foday Moriba Conteh
Partnering to Serve Humanity Consortium, which comprises Tzu Chi Foundation, Healey International Relief Foundation, Lanyi Foundation and Caritas Freetown has on Tuesday 20th December, 2022 held its 6th edition of Interfaith Dialogue on the theme: “Strengthening Peace and Cohesiveness through Religious Dialoguing and Cooperation”, which was later followed by the distribution of 6,600 bags (10 Kilograms) of rice to 2,200 less privileged people within the Freetown Municipality. The event took place at the Dr. June Holst Roness Primary School on Skye Street in Freetown.
Giving the purpose of the gathering, the Larson Officer of Partnering to Serve Humanity Consortium, Ishmael Alfred Charles, said that the gathering is geared towards holding an interfaith dialogue among the various religions in the country in order to discuss how they can use religion towards enhancing peace and national cohesion in the country.
He said that the consortium thought it fit that every year they should have an interfaith dialogue of which he added that this year’s interfaith dialogue marked the 6th edition, furthering that as part of the dialogue the consortium deemed it necessary to distribute 3 bags of 10kg bags of rice and gari each to 2,200 less privileged people within the Freetown Municipality as a clear manifestation of their continuous support towards the course of serving humanity, adding that as religious bodies they have active components that look at charity and compassion out of which the activity is organized.
On his part, the Project Coordinator of the Sierra Leone Muslim Missionary Union, Sheik Fomba Abubakar Swaray, expressed gratitude to the consortium for organizing the interfaith dialogue and undertaking the distribution of rice which he described as not only important but very timely.
He said Sierra Leone is a religious tolerant country which he said is as a result of religious leaders rejecting any religious conflict in the country.
Sheik Fomba Abubakar Swaray noted that the interfaith dialogue exemplifies the religious tolerance in the country, furthering that Sierra Leoneans should not tolerate any disunity among religious sects in the country of which he called on all, as the country is poised to hold elections in 2023,to embrace peace and desist from any act that will threaten the peace and stability of the country.
The Honorable Member of Parliament of Consistency 125, Hon, Alusine Conteh, applauded the move by the consortium for holding the interfaith dialogue which he described as very important towards building the peace of the country.
He urged beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity and further ensure that they cascade the peace messages they have learnt during the interfaith dialogue in their various communities.
In his keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Mohamed Haji Kella, said that through the leadership of President Maada Bio and the entire Government he is very pleased with such an event that is geared towards preaching unity among Sierra Leoneans and also the less privileged in the country.
He said Sierra Leone is one country that is proud of not having any form of religious division saying we should be proud as citizens and in that regard he applauded the religious leaders for the tremendous work they have been doing in maintaining peace and unity among all citizens.
The Deputy Minister took the opportunity to express appreciation to the consortium for the gesture and said as a Government they are in it together and their strides are well appreciated .
One of the beneficiaries, Alma Sesay expressed appreciation to the consortium for the gesture which she described as very timely, adding that now things are not really easy.
She pointed out that the interfaith dialogue that is geared towards strengthening peace and cohesiveness in the country is very important of which she joined stakeholders to call on all citizens to work towards preaching peace in communities.
Alma Sesay also called on other humanitarian organizations and individuals to follow the footsteps of the consortium during a crucial moment like this.