FIFA Council member and former president of the Sierra Leone Football Association(SLFA) Madam Isha Johansen has boosted the Female Correctional Center in Freetown and secured the pardoning and release of four female inmates across the country.

She made this gesture yesterday to mark the celebration of women across the globe on International Women’s Day (IWD).

Vertex media reports that Isha Johansen made a payment of Nle40,000 for fines and legal fees of nine inmates of which four will be released immediately from prison.

The money was raised from the Fashion for Change event that was championed by leading household fashion icons, including Jenneh Amara Bangali of Swank Couture, De Pa Musa, Hannah Fullah, and Frederica. Top celebrities and social media influencers like Zainab Sheriff and Aminata Adialin Bangura, former beauty queen and current broadcaster and producer, Stella Bangura also graced the event at the Bintumani Conference Center in Freetown on 24th September 2022.

In addition, the sum of NLe45,000 contributed by Isha Johansen, Gelshon Fernandes (FIFA Director for Africa), and Ama Williams (Head of Female Football, Ghana Football Association), will be used for clothing and uniforms for the inmates. Some other funds will also be used for the completion of a Skills Training Center at the Female Correctional Center, at the Special Court building in Freetown. A project that was initiated and funded by Madam Johansen and Fifa Secretary General Madam Fatma Samoura.

A working committee chaired by Lawyer Nicky Spencer Coker, alongside Madam Jenneh Amara Bangali and Miss Aminata Adialin Bangura, has been tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the legal and welfare activities to be undertaken by Football For Reform and Fashion For Change.

The following inmates will be released immediately:

Haja Blessing Kamara from Kabala;
Fatmata Alusine from Bo;
Hajaratu Kamara from Bo; and
Fatu Dumbuya from Bo.

The others mentioned below have already had their fines paid, but will be released after serving their jail terms:

Yeanor Kargbo from Freetown;
Mabinty Kamara from Freetown;
Mariatu Kamara from Freetown;
Fatmata Samura from Freetown; and
Mariama Bah from Freetown.

About two years ago, Madam Johansen was stunned after listening to the sad stories of female inmates in Freetown. She empathized with them and decided to use her institution and industry to change the lives of women in prisons. A move that was well received and appreciated by the inmates and personnel of the center.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony held at the Female Correctional Center on Wednesday morning, the Acting Director of the Sierra Leone Correctional Center, Colonel Sahr David Thomas Ngauja expressed his appreciation for the good gesture Madam Isha Johansen has been doing for the female inmates in the country.

He described Madam Johansen as a “true Sierra Leonean who knows no bounds, as she is dedicated to supporting the development of her country, irrespective of region, tribe or politics.”

The Colonel noted that Isha has been a blessing to the Female Correctional Center, together with her partners.

Through a message read on her behalf, Madam Johansen gave the inmates words of hope and motivation, while wishing them a Happy International Women’s Day.

Ever since I walked into the Women’s Correctional Centre almost two years ago, I had a strong instinctive feeling that my visit was not just a chance visit. I felt a very strong sense of purpose.

No one chooses to be in a correctional center and no one chooses to be away from their loved ones. However, life has a way of steering us in the right direction even if it means going in the wrong direction.

I feel humbled to be part of steering these women toward a better future and today will mark a momentous day in my life knowing that I together with my team was able to secure the release of some of these women. I pray that we will continue to not only ensure the release of much more worthy of a renewed beginning but that the empowerment initiatives that Football For Reform and Fashion For Change has set out to accomplish will come to full fruition.

Finally,y I would like to thank the entire staff and officials at the Women’s Correctional Centre particularly Colonel Nguaja, Madam Susan, and the truly wonderful team of officers for their support and encouragement. May God continue to guide us all.

Good luck to the four ladies who will today walk away from thee the past and start a new beginning in life. May the Almighty be your guide and your keeper,” she stated.