This year we have taken in many Ebola orphans - read more about our work on our dedicated Ebola page.
What we actually do for the children
First of all we search the streets in June and July at night to meet homeless children (up to an age of 15) & offer them a place on our programme. Younger children tend to come through people calling us and these tend to be abandoned due to the mother being a teenager herself, maybe she is in prison, the child is disabled mentally or physically or is orphaned.
All the children then come and live at our centre where there is a boys block, a girls block and facilities and staff to provide a safe and pleasant place to live for the coming year.
On arrival they are made to feel welcome and provided new clothes, their medical issues are tackled as the children often have skin problems, stomach problems and sexually transmitted diseases.
They are fed a healthy diet and plenty of it to get their condition and weight back to normal.
They are introduced to routines and activities to get them used to normal daily life again. We do a lot of singing, dancing, football and play acting to start to learn self discipline and get them to bond with each other.
They have chores and learn to cook and clean the around the home to prepare for when they go home to their real families.
Then they get sent to a local school and we help them catch up with our own tutoring staff in the evenings. School and education is strongly encouraged to help give them freedom and a real chance of success in their future careers.
They are encouraged to go to church or the mosque depending on whether they are from Christian or Muslim backgrounds and they all get to celebrate both sets of holidays.
Interviews take place regularly to find out why they are homeless and what can be done to help them get back to their real families.
Later their families are contacted and prepared for their reunification.
After an academic year on the programme they go home and we help support their ongoing education, ensure that they are cared for properly and we help them with medical emergencies that may come up in the future.
When the children come into us at the start of the year they are very stressed and often violent, involved in crime and prostitution as a normal state of affairs. Within weeks they realise we are serious and things are improving for them. This removes the stress and anger and they quickly become great children that are fun, witty and intelligent and a pleasure to be around and support…it is very rewarding for us to help them turn their lives around.
The work of the charity in Sierra Leone is supported by generous regular giving and fundraising through the UK charity, St George Foundation, UK. Find out how you can help.