Sierra Leone News posts
Flooding Emergency in Freetown
There has been serious flooding, loss of life and displaced children in Freetown, who urgently need help. The following news appeal is provided by Justina Conteh from St George Foundation in Sierra Leone.
Tackling shocks and depression experiences by children affected by flooding in Freetown area
Over 2 months (August and September 2019), this project will provide temporal shelter, food and non-food items for 100 children displaced by flood waters in Bathurst, Regent, Kaningo, Culvert, Congo Town Bridge and Tombo communities in Western Area Urban and Rural districts. This would help the children to recover from the disaster, and prepare them to safely return to their families and begin schooling in September 2019. It will further help the affected children gain access to key facilities, like temporal shelter, food, clothing and learning materials to enhance short, medium and long-term growth and development.
100 children in Bathurst, Regent, Kaningo, Culvert, Congo Town Bridge and Tombo communities displaced by flood waters in Freetown and environs are protected through the provision of temporal shelter, and food and non-food items to help them recover from effects of depression and shocks experienced during the floods, and to better prepare them to return to their families and schools in good health.
The project will be led St George Foundation, in partnership with St George Foundation UK, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and participating communities.
Why it matters
On August 2nd 2019, Freetown experienced heavy rainfall causing severe flooding in the whole city including communities of Regent, Culvert, Congo Town Bridge, Bathurst and Kaningo. On the same day, a mudslide occurred in Bathurst community killing two persons; and flood waters damaged homes, wrecked household assets, and injured people particularly women and children in the above communities. On 6th August 2019 again, another devastating flood took place in Tombo, a fishing village very close to Waterloo which left hundreds of families displaced. It is estimated that over 800 flood affected children presently need shelter, food and clothing support.
- Collaborate with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs to enrol 100 flood affected children at the St. George Interim Care Centre in Grafton for 2 months
- Provide food and non-food items including learning materials for 100 flood affected children
- Reunite children with their families and communities
Overall budget: £5000
Why St George Foundation?
St George Foundation, Sierra Leone, has vast experience in humanitarian emergency work including children affected by flood.
As can be seen from the above SGF in Sierra Leone urgently need about £5000 in order to help 100 affected children. Please donate whatever you can to help.
Aruna has been the centre manager for several years. He is perfect for the role - very caring and responsible.
Unfortunately, he has discovered that his wife has a hole in the heart and needs an urgent operation. They are raising $6,000 in order to have an operation in Ghana. We have been raising funds specifically for this purpose, and hoped to raise up to $1,500. We have sent $750 already, so are hoping to raise more funds.
Sierra Leone Update - August 2019
Children at the Centre
The 2018 intake of children at the Centre are reunified with relations, following an extensive tracing exercise. A new intake of around 30 children will then be rescued from the streets of Freetown. It is hoped they will have settled sufficiently to be able to attend school for the 2019/20 academic year.
Supply of Clean Water
The water pipes were previously connected to the dam but have been vandalised, and as the dam is some distance from the Centre it is difficult to provide security.
Water is urgently needed by the end of the rainy season (end October). It looks like we may be able to connect the Centre to another organisation’s own water source, with their agreement. We need to raise funds in order to pay for the necessary materials and labour. Budget awaited.
Up to now electricity has been provided by a generator, which has sometimes failed. We are now about to be able to connect to a mains supply. The cost is £1,000, and this has been provided by a generous supporter. Connection work is underway and connection should be made within a few weeks.
Mudslide Victim Snapshot - Abdul
Abdul is 13 years old and was attending the God’s Project Academy primary school at Regent. He was living with both parents at the above address.
Abdul deeply remembers the mudslide which took away his parents by surprise. He remembers when a sound struck like a thunder, but he was still asleep due to the down pour of rain at about 7:am. He was woken up from his sleep when his father told him to go outside the house and that something is about to happen, so he became afraid as many people were running from one point to another to protect their lives. As Abdul’s father tried to help them cross them over to the other side of the road, flood water sweep the entire family away, and Abdul was rescued from the flood water by another man who took him out to safety. He was admitted at the Connaught hospital, and was there for two weeks before he was referred us for temporary care and support. He was provided with support and psycho-social first aid treatment because of the trauma.
Abdul is now coping well with other children as his life has turned around again. He is happy and we're planning to enrol him in the coming school year, because there is a great potential in the little boy.
Mudslide Victim Snapshot - Fatama
On the 14th August, 2017 at about 7:00am in the morning, Fatmata was asleep with her two children in the same house (aged 7yrs and 1yr 10 months). At around 7:30am the rain was pounding the ground furiously she was not able to go out as usual in the market, after few minutes she overheard a strange sound like a crash nearby, her children were still sleeping enjoying the beat of the rain fall that wonderful morning.
She was so terrified when the land slide occurred within two seconds, Fatmata and her entire neighbourhood were covered in mud buried underneath the earth. She was absolutely in ‘a death row’ when well-wishers arrived at the scene started digging out the debris. Fatmata said she was very lucky to be rescued by the volunteers but could not find her two beloved children in the rubble. She sustained serious injuries due to the heavy rocks coming from the hills. She was admitted at the Connaught hospital for two weeks before she was later referred to us for temporary shelter and counselling.
When Fatmata arrived she was traumatized and could not see her two children. She started crying when she saw other children playing with their brothers or sisters. She was provided with daily to help de-traumatize her from this terrible event.
Fatmata was also provided with further medication and now her life is much more stable than before. She has started interacting well with others as she slowly recovers from pains and agony of disaster.
Fatmata plans to establish a business after this trauma with the support of St George Foundation to help her regain her confidence.
Since the flooding and landslide disaster occurred on August 14th 2017 in Freetown, we have been working collaboratively with the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs and other child protection partners all referring Children and Adults at our interim care centre (ICC) at Grafton for temporary shelter while awaiting family tracing and reunification.
We're playing a leading role in protecting children and adult in need of support, following the landslide. Most of the affected children referred at the ICC have lost primary caregivers and other extended family members in the disaster. During the referral process many of the children and adults were traumatized due to the magnitude of the land slide, which was beyond any expectation. It is still a surprise to many of the victims as they recover slowly from the devastating shock. Counselling services were provided by our staff on a daily basis to de-traumatized the affected victims as they arrived daily.
Food, shelter, clothing, toiletries and medication are being provided on a daily basis though much is needed to be done based on the capacity of the number of children and adults currently residing at the ICC. Many of the adults have lost hope, because it will be difficult for some of them to start their life again, as many of them were engaged in small scale business and have lost everything.
As children do easily forget what has happen to them by playing together. This always brings them lot of joy and helps them to support each other. Many children have started asking questions as to whether they will be able to attend school again. Some of the children were the only survivors of their family left when the flood water wiped away their parents while trying to save them. Counselling is provided to all, both those who seem happy, as well as those still clearly suffering psychologically from the disaster.
Freetown Mudslide and Flooding
We've been called into action by Department of Social Welfare and UNICEF (alongside Don Boscoes and SOS Children's Centre) to get involved with the emergency relief effort following the mudslide and extensive flooding to Freetown.
There are a huge number of children separated from their families, so the three organisations will work to register them and provide immediate care. We also being asked to provide counselling services.
We are aiming to prepare 50 beds on but do not have the funds to support this many children. We have requested assistance from UNICEF and others, but anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated - please click donate now button for ways to help
All our children and staff are OK, and we are not aware of any children being affected that have previously stayed with us. The hillside above the centre has suffered considerable deforestation and unofficial development recently and as a result a large number of rocks slid down the hill and crashed into our water reservoir. Damage to the reservoir and pipework means we currently have no water supply. It is however repairable and for the moment we will have to buy in bottled water until we can fix it.
We've been busy over the last few months continuing our work to help even more homeless children off the streets of Sierra Leone. However, while we have been working hard there, we have also been working hard here.
Over the next few weeks, you will see the launch of our brand new St George Foundation website, as well as increased news and events being publicised via our social media channels.
Look out for the news, follow us, and please continue to support the work we do each day in Sierra Leone to help the hundreds of children left to fend for themselves without the care or love of their immediate family - something we all very much take for granted.
We're award winners!
‘’Give honours to those who honours are due’’ This is the direct quotation of His Excellency, President Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone, during his special award giving ceremony organised for deserving NGOs, INGO, Individuals, private institutions and MDAs at the State House on State Avenue, Freetown. St. George Foundation-SL was one of the NGOs that received the special presidential awards as one of the outstanding organisation that championed the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone.
The Director of Ben Hirsch Child Protection on the left and the Executive Director of St. George Foundation, Justina Conteh, on the right with the Sierra Leone Director of GOAL-Ireland in the middle.
Football superstar Samuel Eto (UNICEF, Goodwill Ambassador) visited the ST George Foundation Interim Care Centre at Grafton, Freetown, Sierra Leone as part of the FIFA Eleven for Health campaign. He was joined by FIFA's Chief Medical Officer Professor JiÅí DvoÅák and President of the Sierra Leone Football Association, Mrs Isha Johansen.
They were touring facilities being utilised by Ebola affected children, child survivors and extremely vulnerable children, and our centre was chosen as was one of only two centres accredited by the Sierra Leone government.
24th August 2015
A Danish TV programme following the story of Ebola orphans, and based on the work of the St George Foundation, is being aired today. We very much hope that new Danish friends will soon be helping us.
The film can be found on the DR TV website: www.dr.dk/tv/se/horisont/horisont-2015-08-24
21st August 2015
Sierra Leone has its first 7 days with no new Ebola cases. Great news and potentially great progress.
August 2015 - British Army at St George
British Army – throughout the Ebola crisis, members of the British Army have been visiting St George children’s home in their spare time as well as on official duties. They have been a great source of fun for the children but most amazingly have transformed our buildings. They have tackled the plumbing, built an incinerator, supported the staff, and have stunningly decorated the buildings.
Huge praise and thanks for those involved…it's stunning!
The British Army are now back in the UK. Members of the British Army have returned and met us with stories of what a fantastic job our team on the ground are doing. The consensus is that St George stands head and shoulders above everything else they witnessed. We are now working with them to find ways to raise the standards of other orphanages through a proposed mentoring scheme.
We have started assisting children in another area – Port Loco. It is an area near the Guinea border where Ebola has hit very hard and left many children in an extreme state. We have managed to get 200 back into school and are monitoring 500 families to spot those in the most desperate need.
29th July 2015
Tulip Mazumdar revisits Sierra Leone to follow up on Augustine's death and his legacy. Check out the BBC news article here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-33581446
Ebola cases and the pressure on the teams in Sierra Leone and UK are gradually easing. Despite being very tired and having suffered huge stress the team in Sierra Leone carries on with supporting orphans.
Update, August 2015: With the benefit of hindsight we realise this, Easter 2015, was a turning point.
EVERY SINGLE STAFF MEMBER stayed at their post despite huge risks and real fear and pressure and handled with dignity the loss of a much loved and valued team member when the manager Augustine Baker himself contracted and died of Ebola.
23rd March 2015
We are delighted to have news that Augustin Baker's three children are also now out of quarantine and all healthy. They are temporarily in care while final arrangements for their future are being sorted.
12th March 2015
The quarantine on our orphanage has now lifted and all children and staff inside are healthy which is fantastic news.
Augustin and Bundu Baker's children will remain in quarantine (not at the St George site) for a further ten days following Bundu's death on 4 March.
4th March 2015
Announcement following BBC News at One report today:
4th March 2015
We have just received the terrible news that Bundu Baker, Augustin's wife, died of Ebola this morning. Our thoughts are with Augustin and Bundu's two young children at this awful time.
The St George Foundation will be looking after their children (a girl aged 7 months and a boy aged 7 years) and will ensure they get a good education when the Ebola outbreak is over.
If anyone would like to support these children please make donations directly to us but use the reference "Staff orphans" on the bank transfer or cheque, or contact us after donating to let us know your PayPal/JustGiving donation is for these children.
3rd March 2015
Some good news: the four children who were sent to an observation unit and tested for Ebola have all had negative (i.e. Ebola-free) results.
2nd March 2015
Update on Ebola quarantine at St George Foundation orphanage:
Sadly Augustin Baker's wife, Bundu, has also now been taken seriously ill with Ebola.
In addition, four children in our care have developed temperatures so have been taken to an observation unit. We should have test results back within a couple of days.
We will post updates here in due course. Thank you for your thoughts at this difficult time.
26th February 2015
News of Augustin Baker's death and a tribute to him was given this morning on BBC Radio 4's Today program. You can listen to the clip below:
25th February 2015
It is with great sadness we share the news that Augustin Baker has died after contracting Ebola last week.
Augustin has worked tirelessly to help children in our care orphaned by the disease and has been particularly active reaching out to help Ebola orphans in affected communities. His loss will be very greatly felt by all of us at St George Foundation.
Augustin featured in the BBC News report broadcast about the St George Foundation last month, and his death has also been reported on their website: bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-31624149
22nd February 2015
A St George Foundation staff member has contracted Ebola:
On Wednesday 18th Feb, staff member Augustin Baker (featured on the BBC broadcast) collapsed and rushed to the hospital.
Augustin was transferred to Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Centre on Thursday 19th Feb and Ebola was confirmed. Four staff were exposed while assisting Augustin to hospital
On Friday 20th Feb the St George children's centre put under quarantine. 10 staff and 25 children confined to the centre for 21 days.
As of today, Sunday 22nd Feb, Augustin is as well as can be expected at this stage and was transferred to the British centre for Ebola volunteers who may become infected.
BBC News article on 23rd Feb reporting on the current situation at our centre: bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-31587180