St George 17 years old today!
It is a big day in St George Foundation today.
May the 5th 2004 (17 years ago today) Justina and a group of volunteers she had from church and her college days fed a group of 35 children some lunch and supper in the grounds of someone else’s orphanage and filled their afternoon with some activities. It was all out of their spare time and my spare money and some inspirational support from people around us.
The following day Justina called in a bit of a state…there were 50 children at the gate before she even got there! So they all got fed and they all joined what was to become the St George family and they all became brothers and sisters and all the volunteers became aunties and uncles. By the August holiday we had rented the first house and moved 68 children in and the St George work really began to grow into what we have done ever since.
We will be holding a prayer service on the weekend to give thanks to God for his blessings and especially for blessing the lives of the children we have worked for and always seeing us through the challenges we have faced.
Duke is doing great. He still has to have his operation but he is now quite well and joining in life with the other children and is now just one of the kids.
The children from the fire were able to benefit from a social centre we opened (in a tent provided by the Red Cross) along with the Catholic Church locally to give counselling support, meals and school activities and some fun for the children who lost their homes in the fire. Thirty five children actually came to live in with us who were in the most need and a couple of them that were suffering from smoke inhalation are now recovered.
A week ago we were donated a bus for a day and managed to take 80 children for a visit to the university and a tour of the highlights of Freetown followed by cultural talks from some visitors.
Life goes on
A special thanks to all of you that support us both financially and morally through all the times we have had.
With very best wishes
Devastating Fire Hits Freetown Slum
Guinea Ebola outbreak
There has been a small outbreak of Ebola in nearby Guinea over the past few days. The Sierra Leone government has taken measures to close its borders and we expect there will be measures in place to protect the population very quickly.
It is a concern - but we do not expect a major outbreak as previously as a great deal was learned at the time and medical advances made which should keep the outbreak under control.
Recent donations - Thank you
Two of our disabled children have just received brand new all terrain wheelchairs. These will make a huge difference to their quality of life as their current ones were almost falling to bits.
Many thanks to our friends around Hythe near Southampton and especially the two ladies that saw the need when they visited St George last year and came home with the inspiration to help these two children.
Also donated at the same time are football shirts. The kids always love these things. Thank you guys!
Thank you too for James from Practical Tools who flew to Freetown and took these in his luggage and made the time while on his own trip to pass by St George Foundation to make the delivery in person.
St. George Foundation Sierra Leone organized a series of activities for children during the festive season.
Festive season starts as early as November every year. It is a great time and a magical experience for young children, as they encounter all of its wonders: the expectation of waiting and counting the days till Santa Claus’s visit, the years of tradition are there too, to explore.
The activities are organized every year for children in the Interim Care Center at Grafton. However, we also extend invitations to other children like the past beneficiaries of St. George Foundation who live in various communities within the Western Area Rural District, and the Street Children, the Organization is currently working with across different communities in Freetown.
These activities are organized to provide an interactive, learning, and fun fare atmosphere for the children. It started with a football competition on December 5th and, continued with other subsequent activities such as a beach party on 12th December, a Track and Field Sport Meet on 19th December, a Christmas Carol show on 24th December, a Christmas party at the ICC on 25th December 2020 and, ended with a learning and talent explosion session on the 1st January 2021 at the Interim Care Center at Grafton.
Being a child protection organization that identifies abandoned children and or exposed to other forms of abuse, and provides them with a safe and stress-free environment, where they can feel they belong, aspire and realize their full potential, organizing activities like these are very crucial to the work we do.
Interim Care Centre Ownership Opportunity
As you may know in 2008, St George Foundation moved to the Centre at Grafton, just outside Freetown. The land and buildings have never been our property and we worked in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Scouts although the site belongs to the Sierra Leone government. At the time we agreed to renovate the buildings so that we might then have occupation for 10 years at a peppercorn rent.
When this term ended, we agreed rental payments of about £7,000 per year.
However, we have an amazing opportunity arise recently to gain the freehold of the site for a fraction of its commercial rate. We feel this is an opportunity to give St George a stable footing for the future. The Sierra Leone government recognise the value of our work and the efforts we have made to develop and use the site in a responsible manner for the good of the community. As a result, they have offered to transfer the freehold to us subject to us continuing that work and effectively for the cost only of the surveys and other associated legal costs. We therefore need to raise about £15,000 in order secure the site as opposed to raising about £150,000 to purchase a similar site on the open market.
We will be applying to several charitable trusts in order to raise the funds, but this is not an easy time to access funding.
With existing funds and one or two pledges, we should have about £4,000 towards this.
If you are able to contribute towards this most important investment, it would be very much appreciated. You can contribute via the website or Justgiving, or send cheques made payable to St George Foundation to us, care of Drovers, Chapel Road, Swanmore, Southampton SO32 2QB