SOS Sierra Leone turns blind eye to a mentally challenged youth

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Nathaniel Tucker

By Fatmata Jengbe

While the world is fighting to combat mental health, a swift approach to put a stop to suicide and untimely death, the contrary is happening with S.O.S Children’s Villages in Sierra Leone.

This highlights the case of Nathaniel Tucker who is facing mental health challenges, from childhood to present. The organisation is refusing to take action for Nathaniel after it received instructions from SOS Children’s Villages International, in Austria, to do so.

In the last two decades, the organisation has proven to be perverse in dealing with domestic abuses; sexual exploitation, education abuse, neglect, corporal treatment, to fraud and corruption. International (internal investigations) interventions were made after the abuses were reported in 2016, but was insufficient due to the inclusion of ‘corrupt-minds’.

Apparently, Nathaniel Tucker, now 27, was integrated into SOS Sierra Leone as a baby. Allegations point that he suffered domestic abuse; corporal treatment and neglect at the hands of the administration that inflicted him, and eventually thrown out of the programme pre-maturely.

In the past 3 – 4 years he has been doing menial jobs at the Lumley market, beach road, in Freetown. Most days, he perambulates the streets of Lumley restlessly, posing as a menace to society.

Nathaniel’s story emerged in June 2019 and shared in public domains with the hope that SOS would take action but to no avail. Though the International Office claimed that they have shared the situation report of Nathaniel to the authorities in Sierra Leone to take action, yet they have continued to drag their feet.

Other cases of former participants of the organisation like Nathaniel have exposed the hazards; health, bully, and sexual exploit of the home office.

The International offices in Senegal and Austria in an email gave their reactions to issue by stating that the current management of SOS Sierra Leone has been receiving support, yet no action has been taken.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Ms Jengbe ,
    I came across your article tittle “SOS Sierra Leone turns blind eye to a mentally challenged youth”. This came well received an appreciated as Nathaniel is my sibling. I was very alarmed with the information I have read and I am of the agreement that resources needs to be put in place to support vulnerable children and adults in Sierra Leone.

    Nathaniel and I both attended SOS when we were young and I was fortunate to be raised overseas. My amazing father who is no longer with us , played the role of both mother and father in rising Nathaniel.

    Nathaniel went to live with my auntie and uncle who are doing an amazing job in making sure his needs are meeting his needs. However, as Nathaniel is an adult he can not be stopped from doing as he pleases and this at times is hard because he should be receiving support by health professionals to maintain his mental health , disability and seizures. SOS are no longer providing Nathaniel with his medication and it is funded by my auntie and uncle .

    Despite Nathaniel facing his everyday challenges he still continues to smile and holds a strong Christian faith. He is an amazing young man who lights up the room with his smile and is perfect in everyway . It saddens me to know that Sierra Leoneans still believes that people who are born with a disability or have mental health is “witchcraft” and they will be treated like nothing or ashamed or be accountable for having parental responsibility for child.

    Regards
    Olivette Tucker

  2. Olivette Tucker,

    I am pleased you responded to the article posted by Ms Jengbe.

    I raised the concern of Nathaniel Tucker’s situation, as he happens to be my SOS brother too. I have reported Nathaniel’s situation to SOS Children’s Villages International, which later reverted to SOS Sierra Leone authorities to take action!

    However, the authorities are deliberately turning a blind eye to the young mans predicament. I have proofs to show SOS Sierra Leone is neglecting the young man. They are corrupt and cannot be trusted!

    I am willing to cooperate if you intend to resolve the situation at hand……

    Nathaniel had been deprived/robbed by SOS Sierra Leone.

    Thank you!

  3. Olivette Tucker,

    It is a pleasure!

    I am a former participant of SOS Children’s Villages ( Freetown) Sierra Leone.

    I shared Nathaniel’s situation to the authorities in the International offices of SOS in Austria. They promised to handled the situation, and later referred the situation to SOS Sierrra Leone.

    However, the authorities in SOS Sierra Leone are deliberately turning a blind eye towards the young mans predicament. There proofs to the effect that they were mandated to address Nathaniel’s situation, but neglected!

    If you need to proceed with your complaints, please do not hestitate to communicate.

    Warm Regard,

    Henry

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