Project SIerra 2007 - 2011
129 young mothers have completed their education or vocational training.
200 families have been stabilised.
48 former street children reconciled with their families.
In partnership with Hope and Homes for Children and Help A Needy Child in Sierra Leone (HANCI-SL)
Project SIerra: A Family And A Future celebrated reaching its £1million fundraising target to help disadvantaged women and children in Sierra Leone in October 2011.
By strengthening families at risk of breakdown, helping young children living on the streets return home and empowering vulnerable young mothers, Project SIerra has enabled more children to grow up in a caring family environment – giving them the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
In 2003 the country celebrated its first year of peace in over a decade. During the ten-year civil war 500,000 people were murdered, raped or left with horrific injuries and over half the population was made homeless. Lone women or frail grandparents still head many households and more than 70% of the population are unemployed. Life expectancy for women is 42 years and nearly a third of all children die before their fifth birthday.
As a result, a legacy of poverty is destroying thousands of lives, homes, communities and families every year. By providing healthcare, counselling, education, vocational training and access to childcare, Project SIerra is improving the lives of some of the most deprived women and children in Sierra Leone.
Joe Glackin, who oversees Hope and Homes for Children's work in Sierra Leone, accepted Soroptimist International's cheque for £1million on behalf of the charity. Joe said:
"Project SIerra is a sustainable programme that's transforming thousands of lives and we're eternally grateful to all Soroptimists for helping to fund it. It has enabled us to empower vulnerable young women, strengthen families at risk of breakdown and help young children living on the streets return home. The huge fundraising effort we've received from Soroptimist International has made an unquantifiable difference to vulnerable women and children in Sierra Leone".
Mariatu is an 18-year-old mother of one. When she was eleven years old both of her parents were killed during the civil war and she went to live with her uncle. Mariatu was pressured into marrying young and after three years of marriage, Mariatu fell pregnant but she was widowed before the child was born. She went to live with an aunt and she enrolled on the Young Mother Support Programme soon after her child was born. Social workers visited Mariatu and her aunt at their home to assess their needs and develop an individual care plan for the whole family. The family were identified as living in very basic conditions. The house was in good repair but all three of them lived together in a single room. Mariatu and her son slept on the floor.
Two areas of necessary support were identified. Firstly, counselling was organised for Mariatu, as she was still coming to terms with the death of her husband. Then to help empower Mariatu, she was invited her to attend the Kissy Centre. Mariatu has been attending parenting and healthcare classes while her son attends the on site crèche. Mariatu has also started a sewing course, so that she can gain skills that will allow her to contribute to the household economy.
Story provided by Hope and Homes for Children February 2008
01Promote stability and self-reliance in post conflict society
02Provide education, training, small business and life skills support to enable families to become self-sufficient and support their children
03Build the capacity of local childcare professionals and create models of excellence that can be shared with other countries in Africa
04Enable more children to grow up in a caring family
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