Sierra Leonean philanthropist, Alton Bendu and his wife Agnes Bendu, who both reside in Norway, on Thursday distributed rice among the needy in a bid to soften the COVID-19 effects on them as the country is set for the third phase of national lockdown amid relentless spike in the number of cases and deaths.
The donation reached intended vulnerable groups on Beach Road, Lumley Roundabout, and Central Freetown Bus Stop, whilst those begging on the streets received theirs on stops.
At Beach Road, bags of rice were shared among one hundred households with the literal intention being to help people survive during this harsh economic downturn.
Addressing the gathering, Mariatu Bendu, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Agnes Bendu, said her parents have always identified with struggling Sierra Leoneans during crisis. “When they learnt about how people are going hungry during this Corona Virus pandemic, they were shaken beyond description. They had to move around goodwill individuals and sorted things out to help the most vulnerable in this clarion for national solidarity,” she said, adding that Mr. and Mrs. Bendu are looking forward to doing more as they go round seeking for funds.
While receiving her own donation, an indigene of Beach Road Lumley, Sylvia Turay, thanked the couple profusely for drying out their tears since the rice came at a time they are expecting another national lockdown. “And during lockdown, traders will just raise the prices on basic food commodities making life extremely difficult for the have-nots. Many people go hungry because they can’t afford to keep pace with the change,” she remarked, praying for the wellbeing of the couple and appealing that they do more as life has taken its turn for the worse.
Another beneficiary, Haja Bangura, related that Mr. Bendu and his wife have done a lot in their Lumley community. “He has supported our children with scholarships and brought home his white folks to teach our children. And indeed, behind every good husband, there is a prosperity-thinking wife. She must have been gearing up our dad to do more. Mr. Alton Bendu has always been around in the hour of need,” she said, admonishing the philanthropist not to cease being kind as those who are better off in their community could not show such a compassion, and that this gesture should spur them up to serve humanity.
The Bendu family is grateful to Gerhard Ludvigsen, the Chief Executive Officer of Petro Nor Ltd for making the donation possible.
This is one among several interventions the Bendu family has made towards people in trying times. During the Ebola scourge, Alton Bendu shipped home a 40-foot container entailing medical supplies for onward distribution to treatment centers and hospitals all over the country. When the mudslide and flashflood of August 14, 2017 killed hundreds of lives and displaced thousands who had to seek temporary shelters in resettlement camps, Alton Bendu strongly came in again and donated over one thousand bags of rice. The goodwill gesture reached those in worst-hit areas. Not mentioned in this piece are his projects in Rotifunk where he has built a girls’ school, a boarding home, constructed hand-jerk pumps, renovated existing co-educational schools, and refurbished the Rotifunk Government Hospital.
In Freetown and in Lungi, his humanitarian interventions are too many to catalogue.