Our work in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone has one of the world's lowest levels of education, and the Ebola crisis has made it worse. Primary schools in remote areas are overcrowded, have too few resources and teachers are untrained. An estimated 283,000 children in these remote areas fall outside the school system, with girls being hit the hardest. Moreover, our study (2012) showed that almost 3,000 children live on the streets in Sierra Leone, while almost 50,000 children depend on work on the streets of Sierra Leone to survive. That's why Street Child decided to take action.
Our Rural Work
Our ambition is to provide access to education for children in the poorest rural areas of the world. By training teachers and setting up educational facilities in the areas where they are most needed, we ensure that children are given the opportunity to follow a course. To date we we have helped thousands of children to go to school.
Our Urban Work
Street Child helps the many children living and working on the street. We work directly with street children in their own environment with the aim of reuniting them with their families, getting them back into school and creating a sustainable home situation for a stable life.
Our work in Sierra Leone began in 2008 with a small handful of street children. Today we have expanded our field of action to help as many children as possible follow a quality education.
Children in need
Our social workers identify children living on the street and aim to establish a role as counselor in their lives. Then they try to reunite the child with a family - usually their own - through guidance and mediation. Established in a fixed family environment, the child is safer and ready to go to school. In this way, the child can build a better future for themselves. So far, our street teams have reunited more than 2,500 children with their families. This allows the children to go (back) to school and to hope for a better future. The social workers monitor the children until they have finished primary school, to make sure they will not drop out of education again.
In 2014, Street Child carried out projects for Ebola orphans in the Kenema, Kailahun and Kono regions. Our team helped more than 12,000 children, including their families, victims of the epidemic.
Since 2016, we have been helping girls who face poverty, a teenage pregnancy, a child marriage, lack of support from parents or poor quality education. Whether it concerns school materials, teachers training or building a classroom, Street Child strives to make education accessible to everyone.
Family business scheme
Sustainability is at the heart of what Street Child aims to achieve.
For many families that we work with, the cost of education is too high. Poverty keeps thousands of children out of school, but we are working to change that.
Family Business Teams, working together with the social workers, help the family of a street child to get them out of poverty, create an income for the family and pay for the education costs of their children.
The teams give business training, subsidies, loans and teach the families to save money, and the effects have been substantial. So far, more than 22,000 family businesses have been founded by Street Child and more than 90% of these families are still able to pay for their children's education.
In 2010, Street Child started a rural school program to support 5 communities in the chiefdom of Tambakha. The project has focused on 'the first schools ever' for some of the most remote areas of West Africa. There, children generally do not even have the most basic language and math skills. Together with the local communities, we have built primary schools and promoted the importance of education. We have also selected some members of the community to attend teacher training. Since then, the project has grown considerably and we have supported nearly 690 teachers in 127 communities in Sierra Leone. Thus, Street Child has enabled 22,000 children in rural communities to go to school for the first time.
In addition, our income-generating initiatives have ensured that schools can cover expenses such as teachers wages before the government takes over the expenditure. Communities are provided with agricultural subsidies and technical support to develop seeds loan systems and collective rice farms where the harvest is sold to cover the education costs.
MARIE, THE MOTHER SELLING CHARCOAL TO SEND HER DAUGHTER TO SCHOOL
'I'm so thankful for the opportunity to send Fatima to school.'
Fatima is in Grade 6. Street Child gave her mother Marie a micro grant to start a business selling charcoal from her home. With the profits, Marie can send her daughter to school.
ADAMA, THE SOCIAL WORKER CHANGING LIVES
'People are so keen for the children to study but they don’t have the means.'
Adama Glenna has worked as a Business Officer with Street Child for four years. Her team distributes and monitors micro business grants to caregivers. Adama works in one of the communities in which she lives with her husband and two children. 'It helps for people to know me, trust me and open up to me.'
One of her neighbours received a grant to setup a business selling Africannah soup, in order to fund her daughter’s schooling. 'Now her voice is the first thing you hear in the morning!'