Our two vocational colleges are relatively unique in Sierra Leone, as they offer informal vocational skill These colleges empower women to learn a trade, become financially independent, grow in self-esteem, and become role models in their communities.
In Sierra Leone, women are commonly expected to stay in the home, marry, have children and be financially dependent on men. Women are discouraged from work and often are not taken seriously. Low self-esteem, abusive relationships and resorting to unsafe work to make ends meet is common.
Currently Sierra Leone ranks 137th out of 146 countries in the Gender Equality Index, and is almost bottom in the Human Development Index, ranking 180th out of 187 countries. There is almost no social mobility or financial security in the country, with 60% of the country living on less than 90p a day.
“Investing in girls and women isn’t just morally right, it is essential for the development of families, communities and countries. When we educate girls, we see reduced child deaths, healthier children and mothers, fewer child marriages and faster economic growth”
“One of the problems is here we are raised to pursue marriage and having children as our goal. We are raised to believe our place is behind that of our husbands or fathers or brothers. But what happens when our husbands leave us? Or our fathers can no longer feed us? We are alone.” Tutor, Kumba R Sellu Vocational College
I am 20 years old. I have a son, but we’ve separated with his father. He is not taking care of us. I am the one that is responsible for my child’s schooling, clothing, food and paying rent on our home. I get my income from the garden [growing crops] and doing odd jobs for people but this is not reliable. That is why I want to do something in order to be self-reliant.
“Our vocational colleges are not just about skills, they’re about life knowledge and how to survive. … No matter what has gone on in their week the students never miss their sessions.” Director, Helga Sellu
We support women financially to attend the colleges. For more women to attend the colleges, we need more student sponsors. Sponsoring a student costs £6.50/month and covers the costs of the materials she needs for her course. All for the price of a coffee and cake in the UK.
Will you be our next student sponsor?