Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sierra Leone - Reaching out to help the children

Once one of the foremost countries in Africa in terms of education, infrastructure and healthcare, Sierra Leone now ranks bottom (177th out of 177) on the UN's human development index. One in four children dies before the age of five, the worst infant mortality rate in the world. The health system is on its knees. Nearly all medical staff fled during an 11-year civil war. Five years on, there are still fewer than 10 surgeons for the entire country and 1 doctor to 96,000 inhabitants. Sierra Leone is the worst place on Earth to live, according to a new UN report on human development! Within these trying conditions, Bro. Bob Fox reports how brothers and sisters are reaching out to bring the love of God to people in both deed and word.

CMAD School Freetown
As a result of the enormous influx of refuges into the capital during the rebel war which lasted for over 10 yrs, there has been a need to supplement the poor education system in the country, as a result we have been running a nursery school in Freetown for Thumbnailover 10 yrs. Currently we have upgraded the school to primary education and now have over 100 pupils. On our recent visit we were pleased to see that the school is progressing well, the new toilet block is nearing completion with only the sanitary wear, tiling and plastering remaining to be done. Once this is complete the old toilet block can be demolished and work started on getting the base for the 3 new classrooms.

Adult literacy
Adult literacy is a major problem in Sierra Leone due to the total breakdown of the education system during the 10 yrs of war. As a result we started running adult literacy classes in all the areas where we have ecclesias. In Freetown we have over 24 students attending 3 nights per week Thumbnail

In Wanjamma they have 25 enrolled from the village and 10 brothers and sisters

Due to severe sanitation problems in the village which is causing constant outbreaks of cholera and typhoid we are building three toilet blocks. One is almost complete the other two are at blockwork stage.
Talia Makia
Talia Makia is a village in the Eastern Province. With the aid of the Meal A Day we have recently taken over the running and management of the school which has approx 150 war orphans and deserted children. The school was formerly run by a Muslim trust who abandoned it early this year through misappropriation of funds
We were sad to hear that nearly 50 of the children were off school sick with Cholera which was said to be due to a lack of sanitation. Several villagers had died during the outbreak. We also learned that malaria is a big problem with the children - about 25-30% are infected so far. None have mosquito nets. No one in the village or surrounding areas had been vaccinated against any of the major diseases. Kenema ecclesia have been supplying basic drugs to those children that are sick and covering the cost from ecclesial funds until now, but this will become a burden to the ecclesia.
Uniforms have been made for the children. Nearly all the uniforms are complete, but it was decided not to issue them until the new academic year, in September, as they would be worn all summer and be half worn out by the beginning of term as many of the children had little if any other clothing.

We have embarked on feeding programme for the children at the school, sponsored by Meal A Day. All the cooking and cutlery has been bought and is in use. The cooking is being done in the open which will become a problem in the next 4 – 6 weeks when the rains come, so it is a matter of urgency that we get an open sided kitchen built as soon as possible

A new ecclesia has been established at Talia and it has 20 adult visitors and 50-60 children coming to the Breaking of Bread on Sundays.

The village and surrounding villages urgently require a surgery, which was part of our plan from the outset. Infant mortality in the country is 40%, officially the worst in the world. Life expectancy is no more than 40yrs, and although I can't substantiate it, I would say Talia is probably about on the national average.

In Talia’s case this is solely due to poor hygiene, no toilets and no medical facilities within reasonable reach and cost. The cost is approx. $3 per consultation plus drugs. However, the average daily spend on food is less that $0.50 per family. Most could not afford to seek medical help even if it was available.

Bro. Bob Fox

Print this post

No comments: