We have SO much catching up to do reporting our efforts in Sierra Leone. The last 6 months have been some of our highest activity to date. Last year we were introduced to a group called 'Hope Life Savers Clinic', a small 2-room clinic headed by a wonderful woman named Sia Fatmata Nyuma. Hope Life Savers Clinic had adopted our name after hearing about Bobby Smith and the work Hope for Lives had done throughout Sierra Leone. The two had never met and Bobby found out about their work, ironically, on his birthday last year. During the Ebola crisis, Hope Life Savers provided medical assistance to pregnant women when all of the hospitals were closed and helped orphaned children of Ebola victims. Sia is now the leader of what we call the Hope for Lives 'Dream Team'. The Dream Team has been visiting schools throughout remote areas of Sierra Leone including Waterloo, Regent, Wilburforce and Rotefunk, providing donations of books, schools supplies, donated clothing and shoes (thanks to Shoe Train in Potomac, MD). The Dream Team has visited dozens of schools and provided donated goods to tens of thousands of school kids in areas that are not supported by the government at all. Visit our Flickr photo gallery for many more images of the Dream Team in action.
We're making an urgent appeal to our friends and donors to support the relief efforts in Regent/Freetown, Sierra Leone. The death toll from the massive mudslide is reaching 500, with perhaps another 600 still missing. 6 weeks of heavy rains have flooded the entire region, displacing 20,000 people including 5,000 children. There is a great risk of another massive mudslide that could affect an additional 70 acres of mountainside communities. Our goal is to raise $8,000 to $10,000 to assemble a large shipment of goods to support the community. We're collecting more clothing, medical and other supplies for the relief effort, but what we need most are cash donations to cover the cost of shipping and port fees. Bobby Smith's plan is to receive the container(s) in Sierra Leone and distribute these goods personally to the families affected by this tragedy.
Bobby Smith visited the Regent area of Freetown on one of his recent visits, talking with students and teachers at a few different schools in the area. Some of the kids in these photos were killed or are missing and certainly all of them will be affected by this ongoing tragedy. Access to clean water will be particularly difficult in the wake of the landslide. The cost of food has spiked considerably and families can't afford even basics like rice and oil. The challenges in Regent will continue for many months to come. Please DONATE TODAY to help us pay to ship the goods we've collected. It takes 4-5 weeks from the ship date for the container to arrive, so please DONATE NOW!
In early July, 2017, Hope for Lives in Sierra Leone helped to celebrate International Day of the African Child. With the help of our good friends and partners, the staff of the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown, we prepared meals for over 3,000 school kids, teachers and administrators. We also made use of our new ice cream machine for a cold treat on a hot day. There was also a soccer tournament, for which we prepared a trophy for the winners. You can see more great photos of the festivities on the Flickr page.
We've been working on the Hope for Lives Computer Lab at St. Anthony's School for over a year now. We built the structure right next to the Hope for Lives Library and have been working on installation and configuration of the computers with the help of our IT guy and trainer Kemoh Tarawally.
Father Bassey of St. Anthony's Parish officially dedicated the computer lab in late September to coincide with the beginning of classes. We have to thank Jimmy Bruzon and Action4Schools for making improvements to the roof over the last two months as our lab building took a beating during the rainy season.
The Hope for Lives Computer Lab building (and the library) is on the boys side of the school, which is why most of the pics here are of the boys. Be assured however, that the girls and all of the school kids have regularly scheduled access to the computers. Our plan to make the computer lab sustainable is to allow the general public paid access as an internet cafe and to offer printing and other services. Public access will be scheduled around the school kids, who get first priority.
The new water station and well at St. Anthony's School was completed just in time for the new school year. We're so grateful to Bishop Fitzgerald School, Action4Schools and Water4Foundation for donating the funds and coordinating construction of the new well.
In addition to the new water station, Action4Schools replaced several of the dilapidated roofs that resulted in water damage to the classrooms during the rainy season. The roof that feeds rainwater into the cistern was also replaced so the school now has two sources of water to serve the 3,000 boys and girls who attend the school. Here's a link to the Action4schools website with additional galleries http://www.action4schools.gi/st-anthonys-school-brookfields-freetown/
So much has happened since our last news post one month ago. Our well drillers drilled a 2nd tap to increase the water yield, the two taps were connected and the water station is nearing completion. The school kids are on summer vacation through August, but will be very surprised when they return to school and see the new water station. We hope the water station will serve both St. Anthony's School and the adjacent High School.
Action4Schools surprised us by offering to replace the metal roof for one of the school buildings AND the Hope for Lives Library and Computer Lab. It was a huge commitment of funds to accomplish the roofing projects.
St. Anthony's School is the recipient of a very generous donation by the Bishop Fitzgerald Middle School (in Gibraltar) and Action4Schools. They donated the funds and coordinated to install a new well at the school, providing water for the nearly 3,000 schoolkids. Currently, the only source of water at the school is a cistern that collects rainwater from the roof, dependent on rainfall to keep up with a heavy demand for water.
Action4Schools is a small volunteer charity based in Gibraltar that has been supporting schools in Sierra Leone since 2007. Action4schools mainly concentrate on refurbishing schools and providing water wells to needy schools.
We would like to thank the people of Gibraltar for supporting Action4schools' work and especially thank the children and staff at Bishop Fitzgerald Middle School for their kind support, they are making a huge difference to the lives of the children at St Anthony's School and the community at large.