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Isha Sesay and Idris Elba have launched The Survivors Solidarity Fund to raise money for survivors of sexual assault in Sierra Leone.
The fund was created after the horrific June 17 rape and murder of 5 year old Kadijah Saccoh in the West African country. Her death sparked days of protests and galvanised groups campaigning against gender-based violence in Sierra Leone.
Sesay, an author and award-winning news anchor formerly at CNN will co-chair the fund with Golden Globe-winning actor Elba. The two are British-born but of Sierra Leonean descent and will be working with local activist Asmaa James as well as survivors, movement leaders and allies in the country.
As well as raising much needed money, The Survivors Solidarity Fund will look to bring global attention to the endemic sexual violence against women in Sierra Leone. Organizers of the fund say that 90 per cent of girls in Sierra Leone experience some form of gender-based violence in their lifetime, ranging from rape and sexual assault to child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The ongoing crisis of sexual violence against women in Sierra Leone has had the effect of noramlizing male domination with the use of violence in the country.
Organizers say the fund’s donations will be housed at Purposeful, an international feminist organization located in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Purposeful will administer the monies raised and distribute funds to four local organizations that provide free medical and legal services to Sierra Leonean survivors. The organizations to benefit are The Rainbo Initiative, Aberdeen Women’s Center, Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice (L.A.W.Y.E.R.S.) and SMART Women’s Initiative.
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