All news posts
Fundraising to purchase centre land
The Grafton site and our centre now belongs to St George Foundation! This is a huge step forward for us as an organisation that will bring a level of stability for future years and we would very much like to say a very sincere thank you for all of your support and to those particularly who have helped fund that purchase.
We have now turned our attention to securing the other part of the site and plan to bring that into use for an environmental project which is going to become an ever increasing area of concern for Sierra Leone and the children we are working with. Much more details to come on that though.
The cost is a further $35,000 (£26,000) and we have now have only £3,000 left to raise! Loans or donations will be very welcome. Any loans will be repaid within 5 years.
Purchase of centre funding update
We are delighted to announce that this week we completed the purchase process of the Grafton site and it now belongs to St George Foundation. It is a huge step forward for us as an organisation that will bring a level of stability for future years and we would very much like to say a very sincere thank you for all of your support and to those particularly who have helped fund that purchase.
We are now going to turn our attention to securing the other part of the site and plan to bring that into use for an environmental project which is going to become an ever increasing area of concern for Sierra Leone and the children we are working with. Much more details to come on that though.
The cost is a further $35,000 (£26,000) and we have now have only £9,000 left to raise! Loans or donations will be very welcome. Any loans will be repaid within 5 years.
The 2021 AGM will again be held by Zoom from 11.00am to 12.00 noon on Saturday 6th November, and will include a brief financial update, an update from Philip Dean, and Justina and the children at the Centre.
If you would like to attend, please apply by email to email@example.com by Saturday 30 th October.
Duke continues to join in with the other children at The Centre. Doctors recently decided that he was not yet ready for his operation, but he will continue to be closely monitored.
Grafton Site purchase update - October 2021
Thank you to our supporters for your continuing donations and support.
With your help we have purchased the Centre and land for $35,000, and would now like to purchase the next-door site. This will ensure we do not have developments on our boundary, and will allow much easier access to our Well. The cost is a further $35,000, but we expect to be able to raise about $10,000 of this sum in Sierra Leone.
Loans or donations will be very welcome. Any loans will be repaid within 5 years.
St George July-August 2021 update
Family Tracing and Reunification
Over the summer we are pleased to say that we have traced and reunified 20 children with their families. That’s 11 girls and 9 boys back where they should be And the parents very happy to have their children back!
Provide life skills and psychosocial first aid to children at the ICC As always we hope that a stay at St George Foundation gives skills to children that help with their ongoing lives. This is wide ranging from oral and body hygiene to cultural dance, drama and singing. Singing and dancing have always been a core part of what we do and great activities that can involve all the children and get them all joining in. Story telling is also a skill the children will learn and without modern day distractions the other children listen with real interest and enthusiasm and we hold competitions with this too.
Follow up visit on UK Sponsored Children
Over the August holiday we have been monitoring sponsored children. A total of 40 boys and 21 girls we followed up in mostly village locations. This involved not only the children but their care givers and the local schools they attend. The vast majority of children were successfully contacted and it was clear that we do need to keep supporting these children to go to school.Many were feeling the pressure of additional school charges, text books and food. Most have the children are performing well and some children have moved onto technical learning of trades which is encouraging.
As you mostly know we work with another charity Toybox on certain projects and in particular street work. One of those joint projects is to work with children in the Mabella community and they appreciated our efforts so much that a group for people from Mabella came to the Scout Camp and presented us with an award. They were recognizing the work we had done in their community to get hundreds of children back to school (who were not attending and on the edge of being street children) and also establishing a savings and loan scheme for local families.
Over the summer months for us it’s the rainy season in Sierra Leone and a time when people are more prone to being ill. Over July and August we 8 children and 7 members of staff that needed hospital attention. Five children were suffering from fevers caused by heavy colds, two with malaria and a boy with a heart condition. The really sad news is that having joined forces with another charity Caritas they found the funding for him to travel to India for a lifesaving operation – but he died of before we could get him there.
Present number of children at the ICC.
Over the whole summer we actually reunified 28 children and took in 20 new ones. Its actually one of the lowest number of children residential that we have had for a long time with just 27 children currently living with us (12 boys and 15 girls)
We are really sad to announce the death of a boy we have been working for.
After the fire a few months ago we discovered one of the boys we took in at the time had a persistent breathing problem. We discovered he had a hole in his heart.
With great work from our team in Freetown they secured funding for him to travel to India and have a life saving operation and we were just getting his passport sorted.
He has sadly died from heart failure while waiting on September 13th.
Grafton Site purchase - update
Thank you for all your donations and support so far!
We're now getting nearer to our goal of purchasing the Grafton Site land. Read more about our plan to purchase the site announced earlier this month.
Grafton Site purchase
The St George Foundation has been given the opportunity to purchase the land used for our site.
We have managed (with the Scouts goodwill I have to say) to agree price probably about a third of the true market value. That came about by taking into consideration the developments that we have created over the years. The prices have rocketed in the last few years since a main road connected the area directly with Freetown city. In order to make it affordable we have split the site into two plots...the part we use on a daily basis and absolutely have to have, and a section that we would like for future development which we also currently occupy (if we can raise the funds).
We have agreed a price for the priority bit of $35,000 (US dollars; approximately £25,000) on around 2 acres which includes all the buildings.
The market value is about three times that and the Scouts have in fact sold an adjacent piece of land for the full value. On top of this there are also expenses and taxes due (much like our own stamp duty that need to be covered).
Following some fundraising, we now have $27,500 (£20,000) available and we are appealing to supporters to make loans for the remaining balance?
We currently pay $10,000 per annum in rent and so this will no longer happen and we propose that any money loaned is paid back out of the sum over the next few years until the money is repaid.
Of course if anyone would like to donate the money we would be very grateful.
The main objective in buying the site is that it gives security to continue the work over the coming years and at some point a new generation can take over.
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
Orphan Empowerment Society award
To commemorate the International Day for the orphan, the Orphan Empowerment Society Sierra leone has awarded SGF for their services to support vulnerable children in Sierra Leone.
The second Monday of November each year is used to raise awareness of the plight of orphans and displaced children around the world.
COVID-19 and St George Foundation update
The COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market shock are having a huge impact on children’s lives and livelihoods. The restrictions of movement across districts, the introduction of curfew from 9:pm to 6: am, and the intermittent lockdown imposed by the government in a bid to curtail the coronavirus scourge has changed a lot of things. The coping mechanism in terms of livelihood has badly affected the children too. It has greatly affected the operations of our social workers and care givers across the board. Their working pattern has changed a bit. Most staff used to work in the office and the community daily. The restriction on movement has forced them to be working from home, more of phone calls and seldomly visiting the outside community. To many staff, this is strange and challenging.
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the behaviour of many Sierra Leoneans including children. Greetings by handshaking and hugs has always been part of our culture. We have maintained this form of social interaction for years now. However, the outbreak of the Coronavirus has changed the greeting method by binding your elbow or placing your hands on your chest as a sign of greetings. This is especially a strange and difficult practice for children.
The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted many areas including the market for basic amenities and food. Before the crisis, we use to buy our basic provisions more often. This has however, changed completely because of the outbreak. The outbreak has impacted the prices of commodities in the market greatly. The cost of provision and food is too expensive. This is because, there are a limited supply of goods in the market and also, the fall of foreign exchange in the market. All these challenges have real negative effect on children and women, who are the most vulnerable in our society.
Since the COVID-19 health pandemic is so deadly, leaders throughout the world, in an effort to break the chain of transmission of the virus, have needed to enforce precautionary measures as directed by the World Health Organisation. Amongst the various safety precautions, the use of a face mask has been enforced most. To many people including children, hand washing is not too strange but the use of face masks and the rule of social distancing are very difficult for the children especially those with asthmatic condition, and also during play time. The measures, through necessarily being enforced in good haste, has limited the interactive freedom of the children and is, consequently, making them quite stressed.
The government has made these measures compulsory for everyone. This is especially important, since it is very difficult to determine the well-being of everyone you interact with. Most institutions including the Security Sector and Drivers’ Union have helped the government in enforcing these policies in order to help reduce the spread of the contagious corona scourge.
Children's Education in Lockdown
All the government restrictions including the Stay at Home policy have greatly affected the activities of staff and also the activities of the children. Educationally, the children are not attending schools currently. Socially, their interactive and playing style has been limited, because people are not allowed to be crowded together.
The closing of school disrupts the life of children. However, there are volunteers currently at the Interim Care Centre at Grafton. The volunteers are school teachers who provide temporary teaching to the children on a daily basis. In response to the challenge of the children not being allowed to go school, the St George Foundation employed volunteer teachers in order to give the children some education while in lockdown. An agreement was signed to include all the policies (Child protection, child safeguarding policy, Police clearance, Volunteer policy and the code of conduct) of St George Foundation. They have over five years of teaching experience in unrelated areas in community schools, and have knowledge in child protection, child safeguarding and child code of conduct and counselling. Some of the areas they teach these children include, English Language, Mathematics, Hygiene, Social Studies, Home economics, Quantitative, Verbal aptitude, Sounds and Phoenix, Writing and Health education etc...
The teachers have made their relevance known amongst the children.
By not just teaching but providing social support and counselling, the children are very appreciative of them. Many of the children have made it known that the arrangement to provide the education is very timely, and it is keeping them busy at this difficult moment.
St George Foundation and Coronavirus
Sierra Leone has continued to experience lockdown and curfews. Fortunately, only 53 deaths from Covid-19 have been recorded in the country to date.
As a consequence of lockdown, and in order to keep costs to a minimum, 11 staff were made redundant at the end of March. The usual annual tracing and reunification of rescued children is now underway with a view to placing the 2019/20 children back in the community, with families.
It continues to be a challenge for St George Foundation to be able to bring in enough income to meet the costs (essentially just salaries, food and provisions), while fund raising activities are curtailed.
Our 16th birthday!
The first day we worked with children and fed anyone was May 3rd 2004
Happy Birthday St George Foundation!
Read more about our work today.
This has been booked for Saturday morning, 28th November 2020 in The Paterson Centre, Swanmore. Hopefully we will be able to hold this then.
Bishops Waltham Festival
It had again been agreed that we could take part in the 2020 event. Unfortunately, this has been cancelled due to Coronavirus.
Charity Challenge 2020
We supported King William’s College in the Charity Challenge 2020. They had to competitively present our charity, and were runners up, so we have just received £200 as our share of the sponsorship.
St George Foundation and Coronavirus
We understand that Sierra Leone recorded their first Coronavirus (COVID-19) case on 31 March.
The Government have decided to lockdown the country from 4th April for 2 weeks. It is widely expected that this may well be extended.
As a consequence, 11 staff have been made redundant, and all children and staff will remain at the Centre for the duration of the lockdown. Food, provisions and drugs have been obtained for this period.
For the next few months it is expected to be a challenge for St George Foundation to be able to bring in enough income to meet the costs (essentially just salaries, food and provisions).
Recent case study: Fatima
Fatima (not her real name) came to us at the age of 13 in July of 2019 and is now 14 years old. We met her at one of our Wednesday feeding sessions last summer and she has lived with us ever since at the children's' home in Freetown.
Fatima's father had left the family and then Fatima and her mother fell out and she was driven out of the house. With nowhere else to go she ended up living in the street and homeless. When we met her she accepted our help and came to the children's home to live with us and she started attending school and settled down and doing well.
Sometime later we realised that she was pregnant and the story came out of what had happened to her. She had been gang raped by a group of men and boys but had kept it to herself. During this incident she had become pregnant. She was unable to identify any of the men involved and so no prosecution or justice has been possible.
We did trace her mother and try and reunite them some weeks ago but the mother now realised she was pregnant and said she was a disgrace to the family and refused to have her back.
She was now heavily pregnant in January 2020 and seriously did not want to have the baby. Secretly and unbeknownst to us she found a 'witch doctor' that provided her with some herbs to drink that would cause a miscarriage. Over last weekend we realised that she was very ill and rushed her to hospital where the doctors attempted to save the baby. Unfortunately it was already dead inside of her and so was removed by the doctors. After two days she has come back to the home and is recovering.
This is obviously very traumatic for her and she will receive counselling from our staff and we will try again to reunite her with her mother. Sadly without the pregnancy or a baby it might actually prove easier this time, but she is a reformed character who is studying well at school and otherwise life is looking more positive.
- Building bridges for learning opportunities for children.
- Outreach programs with children to build and reinforce children’s confidence and social development.
- Enhancing education for children with support from external and internal volunteers.
- Positioning the organisation through networking and collaboration with partner organisation and private individuals.
- 19 girls and 11 boys have been admitted at the ICC since January 2019.
- 17 girls and 10 boys have been reunited with their families.
- 99% of enrolled children were promoted to new classes this academic year.
A nurse from St George Church in Germany will be visiting the Centre from October to end of December. She will be concentrating on training the staff and the resident Centre nurse in particular.
It is also planned for her to be working on a programme with the severely disabled children, who have all improved considerably since Hilary visited the Centre earlier in the year. Even though Hilary was ill much of the time and returned early, it seems she has planted a seed that has been really positive for these children.
A volunteer student paediatric nurse is also going to visit the Centre in early October, as she has a nursing placement in two hospitals in Freetown. It is hoped that both she and St George Foundation will benefit from her visit.
We are hoping to have clean water piped in soon.
CRS (Catholic Relief service) bought land for a community group at Grafton, very close to the Centre. They have their own large dam that supplies them with water and the community is in agreement that St George can access that water, but it has to pass a neighbouring (industrial) property to reach the main road and then the pipes will be laid along the highway so avoiding private property and the scouts land.
We are also expecting to be connected to the electricity supply soon.
We have paid our deposit (50%), but the electricity company is waiting for the remainder of the neighbouring properties that want electricity to pay their deposits too in order to make the final connections. It seems that the electricity company is waiting for a critical mass to have paid to justify completing this.
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.
The 2019 AGM will be held on Saturday 30th November at the Paterson Centre, Swanmore with an update from founder, Philip Dean.
Where: Paterson Centre, Swanmore, SO32 2PA
When: Saturday 30th November. 10.00am to 13.00pm
- 10.00 - 11.00am Coffee and chat
- 11.00 - 12.00pm AGM and update from Philip
- 12.00 - 1.00pm Light lunch
A games evening is being planned for the Autumn – to be held in the Paterson Centre, Swanmore, SO32 2PA.
Date to be agreed. Watch this space!
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.
Tea Party 2019
Where: The Bishops Waltham Palace Ruins, SO32 1DH.
When: Saturday 29th June
We joined forces with the Bishop's Waltham Festival this year to create a tea/garden party with live music.
We had cream teas, cakes, BBQ, ice creams, 'guaranteed sunshine', plant sales and non stop live entertainment to listen to and activities to join in. This included:
- A jazz band playing,
- Chomp (a music band),
- A come 'n' sing choir,
- Irish Dance,
- Serena Lynn (Vera Lynne songs)
- Swanmore Wind Orchestra
- Ending with the very lively Southampton Ukulele Band
- Plus an African drum workshop for those that want to have a go themselves.
It was a great day and raised about £1,200. Click on the photos below to enlarge.
To be reprised next year when it will be even more fun!
Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge
Patrick and Kathryn completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks, walking 25 miles in 10 hours and 57 minutes on Saturday 15 June 2019 for the St George Foundation.
Patrick is a trustee of the charity and spent 6 months in Sierra Leone working with DfID and the MoD to defeat the Ebola crisis in 2015. During his time in Sierra Leone, Patrick was introduced the St George Foundation centre in Grafton, Freetown and spent much of his free time helping and supporting the charity’s work whilst working on the Ebola crisis.
To support Patrick and Kathryn, visit their JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kathryn-harvey7
Huge thanks to them and really well done for raising in excess of £1,500 in total.
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.
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.
John Vearncombe on BBC Radio Solent
John Vearncombe was interviewed by Julian Clegg on his breakfast show on BBC Radio Solent, to talk about his participation in the upcoming Clipper Around the World Yacht Race, which kicks off in a few days from Liverpool.
John aims to complete the entire 40,000 nautical mile challenge and is asking members of the public to sponsor each mile for the St George Foundation at £1/mile.
Cheer John on in his immense global challenge, and help save another child in need with the St George Foundation.
Round the World Clipper Race - John Vearncombe
Children’s charity the ‘St George Foundation’ named as charity of choice by John Vearncombe in Clippers 2017/18 Round the World Race
Southampton – 24th July 2017: Sierra Leone street child charity, the St George Foundation is proud to announce that Hampshire resident John Vearncombe has chosen to fundraise for the charity as he takes part in this years round the world Clipper race.
The race, which is due to commence on the 20th August will find the team sailing from Liverpool for the first 5,200 nautical mile leg journey. John and his team will board the Clipper yacht ‘Liverpool’ named after the city itself, which is 1 of 12 identical Clipper racing yachts taking part in this 40,000 nautical mile race around the world.
“I started sailing at the age of 28 after moving to Dundee, where I was able to join a local sailing club and fulfil my interest in sailing. It was here that I first came across the Clipper Round the World Race, and so began my journey to be a part of the most gruelling amateur global sea race known to man” said John Vearncombe “As I take part in this once in a lifetime challenge, I want to use my experience to help others. This is why I chose to fundraise for the St George Foundation, asking people to sponsor each mile of my journey where I will dedicate the entire £40,000 sponsorship target to helping the street children of Sierra Leone”.
The St George Foundation has been helping homeless orphans from the streets of Sierra Leone since 2004, providing shelter, education, medical care and reconnecting the children with lost family once settled. “We are extremely honoured and grateful to John for choosing the St George Foundation as his charity of choice as he takes on this enormous human endeavour” said St George Foundation Co-Founder, Philip Dean “We desperately need the support of people like John if we are to continue our work to help the hundreds of children left to fend for themselves after the years of civil war in Sierra Leone. We wish him all the best, and will be following him through his blog, as he circumnavigates the globe and achieves each challenging leg”.
To follow John Vearncombe, and to sponsor each nautical mile of his 40,000-mile challenge go to roundtheworld.blog
15th July - Thank you to everyone who came and supported our St George Foundation charity fundraising Garden Party this Saturday. It was a truly successful and enjoyable day, with huge numbers in attendance from the youngest to those who (like us) are young at heart.
Luckily for us, the weather played a positive part in the proceedings, and the sun shone on our happy open air garden party staying dry and rather sunny :)
We would like to also add our special thanks to Kings Church Bishops Waltham for supporting us with the delicious cakes/cake sale, the volunteers from St Barnabas, Swanmore and Locksheath Free Church, to Brian Pancott for taking some very lovely pictures of the event on the day, and to all those supporters and volunteers without whom our day would not have been possible - Thank you to you all!
We hope to see you all again at the next St George Foundation charity event and hope that you will continue to support us to help the hundreds of children in desperate need of our help in Sierra Leone.
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.
28th October 2015
Congratulations to Laura who completed both the Tough Mudder & Great South Run.
Thank you for fundraising and well done on raising over £650!
21st October 2015
Well done to both Stacy and Corin who took part in the Zip Wire Challenge on the 18th October, together they successfully raised £310!
17th October 2015
Well done to all our volunteers who supported the Romsey Market Stall event on the 17th October, we raised an amazing £1,045.88!
Huge thanks to; Bradbeers who gave us the market stall, WHSmith, Boots and Waitrose who allowed us to collect outside their stores & La-di-da, Auntie Annes, Belinda Clark Confectionary, Cambrooks Foods, Murray's Chocolates, Odihamam Cake Company, Popcorn Kitchen, Rich Products and the Real Macaron Company.
7th October 2015
Stacy Burton is also taking the 450 Zip Wire Challenge on the 18th October at the Hampshire Cricket Ground, the Ageas Bowl!
Thank you, Stacy and best of luck!
To support Stacy visit her JustGiving Page: www.justgiving.com/Stacy-Burton2
30th September 2015
Corin Bowley our events fundraiser is taking part in a sponsored 450 Zip Wire Challenge on the 18th October at the Hampshire Cricket Ground, the Ageas Bowl.
If you are also interested in also taking part, please do get in contact.
To support Corin visit her JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/Corin-Bowley/
15th September 2015
Laura Cambrook is supporting the St George Foundation Charity by running the Great South Run on our behalf! Read her story below and why she is supporting;
"The Great South Run is on Sunday 25th October and is 10 miles around Portsmouth. I've decided to run for the foundation as I was in Sierra Leone with the military for 4 months at the end of last year/beginning of this year. We visited the site just before Christmas and brought loads of presents to the kids, I was awe struck at the centre and what you do for the kids. Because I've seen first hand what amazing work you do I felt it was probably the best charity I could run for, especially with the Ebola crisis on going and the fall out from it being an unknown quantity at this time. Sierra Leone has a long road to recovery ahead and I think your foundation is probably going to need a helping hand to do all you can to help those children who need it most."
We wish her the best of luck and thank you for all her hard work fundraising.
To support Laura visit her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/LauraLindsey/
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
21st February 2015
Fleet Rotary club raise £780 pounds for St George Foundation. Some very generous donations and well done to the team - it was freezing out there! Thank you!
20th February 2015
We are delighted to announce that Cradleoak will be supporting St George Foundation, donating a percentage of their income from their events this year.
Cradleoak runs a small social enterprise in Wiltshire organising social events to care homes for the elderly.
When asked why they chose to support St George Foundation, they answered: "We were moved by the plight of the orphans affected by Ebola and want to make a difference to their lives. In addition, we wanted to contribute to a charity that does not carry a large staff, so funds go directly to this worthy cause."
We would like to say a huge thank you to Cradleoak for your support.
21st January 2015
Philip Ide is running the London Marathon for the St George Foundation!
He says: "I went to Sierra Leone in late December 2014, as a Photographer for the Mail on Sunday. When I was there I visited an orphanage run by the St George Foundation. It was both extremely inspiring, but very upsetting at the same time. In fact, I found it difficult to talk about it, for a few days. I will be donating a sum of money myself and hope you will join me!"
Join in donating to help reach Philip's target on his JustGiving page: justgiving.com/philip-ide
20th January 2015
Watch this video of the great evening on 15 Jan at Merchants restaurant, Southampton, where Lou Taylor had his dreadlocks cut off to fundraise for the St George Foundation and our current work with Ebola orphans.
Lou has now raised over £1000! You can still donate to support him here: justgiving.com/loutaylormusic
16th January 2015
BBC News recognise the incredible work of the St George Foundation in saving the lives of children who have suffered or lost parents through Ebola.
You can also listen to a similar report broadcast on the Today program (16 Jan 2015) on BBC Radio 4:
15th January 2015
Lou Taylor is cutting off his dreadlocks and raising money for St George Foundation!
Lou Taylor, a community leader in Southampton, is having his two foot-long dreadlocks cut off on Thursday 15th January, to help raise money for the thousands of children in Africa who have been left orphaned by Ebola.
He has arranged an evening of musical entertainment at the Merchants restaurant in Ocean Village which starts at 7.30pm, with bands and singers such as LST performing before and after the main event of the night – one definitely not to be missed!
Lou is hoping to raise around £500 for the St George Foundation, and is so close! If you are unable to make the event, but would still love to help Lou reach his target, please click on the link below to donate:
Take a look at the Daily Echo article with a little bit more information about Lou Taylor’s story.
This is going to be such a great evening and the St George Foundation is extremely grateful to Lou Taylor and everyone that has supported him so far.
We hope to see you there!