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Status i Freetown och kommande projekt

Hej!

Vi har tidigare valt att skriva på engelska men tror att alla som läser dessa inlägg är svenskar så känns enklare att skriva på svenska.

Freetown är i en så kallad ”återhämtnings-fas” efter lerfloden som dödade tusentals människor i augusti. De olika akut-boenderna som byggdes upp har nu stängts ned och det är många människor som inte har någonstans att ta vägen då det inte byggts några nya hem till dem efter att deras hem blev förstörda av lerfloden. Crespo kommer att åka ned till Freetown den 6:e december för att se hur läget är där nere och undersöka vilka behov av hjälp som finns.

Vi har även börjat planera ett kommande projekt som vi ska försöka dra igång nästa sommar. Vi har tidigare fokuserat på akut hjälp för barn i Freetown både under ebola epidemin och nu senast efter lerfloden. Vi vill fortsätta att hjälpa i akuta situationer men vill även starta projekt som ger en mer långsiktig hjälp. Crespo funderade över vad han själv saknade under sin barndom och kom fram till att han saknade ”life-skills”.  Saker så som näringslära, god hygien, sexualkunskap, könsstereotyper etc. lärs inte ut i skolan. Många viktiga ämnen pratas inte om, varken i skolan eller hemma, eftersom de är väldigt tabubelagda.

Vi vill därför starta en sommarskola där just ”life-skills” lärs ut till barn och ungdomar. När Crespo är nere i Freetown kommer han att ha en workshop tillsammans med Francis för att påbörja planeringen av denna sommarskola. Vi kommer självklart att uppdatera här när vi kommit längre i planeringen.

 

Freetown day 4 – Last day

Hi!

So today (Thursday) was my last whole day in Freetown. I will return to Sweden tomorrow. We are done with the donations for the flood- and landslide-victims so today I chose to spend the day at Conforti Primary School which is the school that the NGO we are working with in Sierra Leone are running.

The story behind Conforti Primary Schools is very heart touching. It started in 2001 when the civil war ended in Sierra Leone two brothers – Francis and Christian Mason – returned from Guinea to their family home in Calaba Town, a suburb of Freetown. The physical destruction and human loss that met them was heartbreaking. Not only had the country’s infrastructure been destroyed, but families and communities had been torn apart. The choice for Francis and Christian was whether to stay, or whether to simply flee the country and rebuild their lives overseas. Francis and Christian decided to stay. For a few hours each morning, underneath a mango tree on family land in Calaba Town, the Mason brothers began teaching the children – many of them orphans – in their community. And each morning more and more children came to the classes. By the end of the first year there were 22 children. When those children graduated to the next grade, the brothers began a new class. By the end of their second year 210 more children had joined the school. With the support of the community, basic classrooms were built and local volunteers were recruited to help with the teaching.

Today Conforti Primary School have over 500 children in the school and the school have one of the best scores on the National Primary School Examinations every year. Conforti have also developed a 2-year vocational training program for women that have dropped out from school in early age and need a second chance to get an education. The project is called Conforti Organization Girls Empowerment Project and it is my stepfather Micke that is the man who makes this project being able to exist. Micke have connected the project with a fund in Sweden and the fund is now supporting the project financially every year.

Francis and Christian

I started the day by visiting the students in the girls’ empowerment project. Today they had classes in catering, hairdressing and sewing. I asked them if they could sew some clothes for me to bring back to Sweden and it ended up with me getting 6 shirts and 3 dresses. They are so talented and the clothes they are making is so beautiful.

Some of the girls having class in machine-sewing
In the making of a dress
In the hairdresser class
Girls cooking jollof rice in the catering class

 

Preparering the grill
The dress that the girls at Conforti made for me

After my visit at the girls’ empowerment project I went down to the nursery to eat lunch with the youngest children at Conforti. Those children are so lovely and I wish Sierra Leone was located closer to Sweden so I could visit them more often. I ended the day by visiting every class in their classroom. The children had so many questions about my life in Sweden and I tried my best to answer all of them.

 

Some of the children in nursery taking a nap
Class 1 pupils in primary school

My day in Conforti primary school was a perfect ending to my stay in Sierra Leone. I wish I could have stayed longer but hopefully I will be back in Sierra Leone soon!

 

/Pernilla

Freetown day 3 – second donation

Hi!

So, today (Wednesday) we arranged the same kind of donation as we did in Culvort yesterday but this time for children in Regent. The people that lived in the landslide affected area Regent have been moved to disaster shelters established by the national government and big NGO:s like UNICEF. A woman representing ministry of health and sanitation helped us to identify children in the camp that are in school age and in need of new things for school. Although everyone in the shelters were in need of medical, food, shelter and clothing, the vast majority of these extremely impoverished people had been trained from previous natural disasters to react to the arrival of the international NGO:s and jump in the line for anything they can get. It’s important to keep in mind that Sierra Leone has among the lowest income citizens in the world with an average annual income of roughly $500/year. Since our aim with the donation was to target those people that were actually affected by the landslide the help we received with the identification was really grateful.

The donation was supposed to take place at 12 p.m. but as most times in Sierra Leone it got delayed, so instead it started around 5 pm. That’s something you just must accept when being in Sierra Leone – events will never happen at the time you schedule them to happen. If you have a meeting you need to be prepared for at least one hour delay. So, we were in the shelters waiting to start the donation for some hours but that didn’t matter because it gave us the opportunity to play with the children and talk to people that are staying at the shelters. It has gone 6 weeks since the landslide occurred but you can still see the injuries on many people, it was especially hard to see children with plastered arms and legs.

Dad playing with his injured son in the camp

When we eventually started the donation, everything went very well. It takes a lot of work to arrange those kinds of donations but when you see the happiness in the children you get it confirmed that all the work is worth it.

The injured child from the picture above getting his back-to-school-package
One girl getting her package
One girl getting her package
One girl getting her package
Happy kids during the donation
Happy boy getting his package

/Pernilla

Freetown day 2 – donation day

Hi!

I hope you liked my post yesterday and that it gave you a better insight of the work we are doing here in Sierra Leone 🙂

Yesterday we did our first donation for 50 children in Culvort which is the area that got affected by the flooding. Our aim was to target children in school-age and supply them with school related things that they have lost because of the flooding. When Crespo was in Sierra Leone a week ago he did two donations as well and in those donations, we supplied people with basic needs such as cloths, water, soap and toiletries. For the donation yesterday, we identified 50 children in Culvort and invited them to the donation. There were many more children that came and wanted to take part of the donation as well and it was so hard to have to say no to all those children. The children that took part of the donation got a schoolbag filled with books, pens, pencils, eraser, ruler and shoes. We also gave them an envelope containing a small amount of money so they could go and buy a new school uniform. Since the children is going to different schools they are wearing different uniforms so we thought it was better to give them money to buy their own uniform.

The content of the package that we gave to the girls
The content of the package that we gave to the boys
Picture from the last donation when Crespo was here
Another picture from when Crespo was here
Happy boy with his new bag from yesterday’s donation
Happy girl together with her mom wearing her new bag from yesterday’s donation
Happy girl with her new bag from yesterday’s donation
Happy girl together with her mom wearing her new bag from yesterday’s donation

 

 

Today we will have another donation in Regent which is the area that got affected by the mudslide. We will go to the center I wrote about yesterday that the ministry of health and sanitation have set up together with UNICEF for the people that got their homes destroyed by the mudslide. As you could see on the pictures I put up yesterday, all houses in Regent is destroyed including their personal belongings. We will do the same kind of donation as in Culvort, targeting 50 children in school age. I’ll write a post about today’s donation later today or tomorrow.

I would also like to say a BIG thank you to all of you who is donating to us and is making it possible for us to do this for the people in Sierra Leone.

/Pernilla

Freetown day 1

I’m staying with our friend Francis who is the founder of the NGO that we are working with here in Freetown. Francis and his brother is together running a school and a NGO called Conforti. His brother Christian is in in charge of the school and Francis oversees the NGO.

I started the day by visiting the children in school. Every morning before school starts they have an assembly where all pupils and teachers gather to sing and pray together.

 

After visiting the children in school, me and the staff drove to an area in Freetown called Culvort which have been affected by the flooding. The flooding has affected many areas in Freetown and different NGO: s has responsibility for different areas and Culvort is the area that Conforti is responsible for. I met the community-chef in Culvort who told me about the situation there. He said that the biggest problem right now is that so many people don’t have a place to sleep and people are now sleeping in schools, mosques and churches. The staff showed me around in the area so I could see all the damage that the flooding have caused and it was heart-breaking to see. Many houses were destroyed and the ones that was not destroyed was so filled with water so it’s not possible to live there.

Me, the community-chef and Foday from Conforti
In the flooding area, Culvort
A woman with her 3 week old daugther in Culvort

 

In the afternoon, we headed to Regent which is the area that was affected by the mudslide. It was in the morning of August 14 that a slice of rocky mountainside loosened by heavy rains and crashed down from the mountain onto the regent community. Boulders and mud rolled over this suburban area, demolishing homes and streets. Torrents of water flooded communities farther down the valley, leaving them devastated as drenching rains continued to fall.

 

It was a terrible sight to see Regent. As the video above is showing the mudslide has destroyed the whole community. No houses is left in the community. Little more than 600 people have been found dead but there is still about 600 people missing. Those missing people are probably berried down under the mud.

We also visited a centre for the mudslide-survivals that the ministry of health and sanitation have set up together with UNICEF. Many of the children that stays in the centre are orphans and don’t have a home to go to because of the mudslide.

 

I had a long day out on the field and it has given me a much bigger understanding of what have happened down here. Tomorrow we will arrange a donation for affected people. Our focus on the donation will be children. Since the flooding and mudslide have destroyed all personal belongings many children don´t have school things such as books, pens, schoolbags and uniforms so we will provide them with a package containing those things.  We will arrange two donations, one that will target 50 children in Culvort where the flooding has occurred and one that will target 50 children in Regent where the mudslide occurred.

/Pernilla

First post!

 

Hi everyone and welcome to our website. Under this tab (news) we will write the latest news about our work in Sierra Leone.

On sunday (17/9) I (Pernilla) will travel to Sierra Leone to continue our work to help the flood- and mudslide-victims. We are working together with an organization in Sierra Leone called Conforti and together with Conforti I will support the affected people with basic needs. There will be daily updates here with pictures and information about my stay.

If you want to support our work click on the tab ”donate” to see information about how to support us.