Monday, February 24, 2014

Our new project in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is one of Africa's smallest and poorest nations. After a decade of civil war, 75% of the population lives below the poverty line with half living on less than $1 per day. Poverty is concentrated in the rural areas and around Freetown, the capital city.

Developing World Connections has partnered with the We Yone Child Foundation (WYCF), a non-profit NGO working for the improvement of the lives of children. WYCF's mission to provide sustainable, high-quality education and care to underprivileged children in Kroo Bay and George Brook, two slum communities in Central Freetown.

The hillside community of George Brook, our first project site
The primary school that DWC volunteers will be rebuilding
Students being taught in George Brook by WYCF supported teachers

The slum community of Kroo Bay
The current school in Kroo Bay
Some of the smiling children in Kroo Bay
Santigie Bayo Dumbuya is WYCF's Sierra Leonean founder and program director. In his youth, Santigie was forced to become a child solder during Sierra Leone’s civil war. At the end of the war, he moved to the city through the help of his father’s neighbor who took him to Freetown to complete his education. During his stay in Freetown, he became re-integrated into society and found a passion for helping others.

Santigie got his first diploma in Project Development studies at the Institute of Professional Management (IPM) and a national diploma in Business Administration and Management at the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCE&T).

After completing college, Santigie remembers sitting down to reflect on a life-changing experience from the war. In the middle of a gun battle, he had risked his life to save a 5 year old girl who had lost her parents. With this in mind, he made the decision to use his education, extensive volunteering experience and professional network to help more small children. In 2009, he founded WYCF in an effort to join his country people in their fight for peaceful, happy and well-educated childhoods.

Santigie (left) receiving a UN Special Court Award in November 2013

Our first trip will be led by veteran team leader, Tim Kasten, from April 12th to 26th, 2014. Tim accompanied DWC's president, Wayne McRann, on the first exploratory trip to Sierra Leone.

Team leader Tim Kasten in Sierra Leone

Volunteers will work in the community of George Brook, an impoverished shanty hillside area of Freetown, to start construction on a new school for 120 students. Once completed, local children will have a safe, secure, and well-lit building to learn in.

Students and WYCF staff in George Brook

If you would like to support this project, click here to donate to the "Help Build George Brook a School" fund. A Canadian tax receipt will be issued for for any amount more than $1 CDN.

For more information about the We Yone Child Foundation and their programs, you can visit their website or Facebook page.

Sarah Johnstone
DWC Communications Coordinator
Kamloops, February 2014

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