The economy of Sierra Leone has been devastated from successive years of civil war and compounded by the recent and deadly outbreak of Ebola in 2014.
In such a torn apart place with many families having lost loved ones and providers, this programme investing in young women to learn an accessible trade is invaluable for their future and the future of their communities.
“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”Julia Gillard, Girl’s Education Forum 2016
Our two vocational colleges in Waterloo, Freetown, and Koindu, Kailahun District, are relatively unique in Sierra Leone, as they offer informal vocational skills training mostly to women. As of 2021, we have 92 students registered across the two colleges, 87% of them being women.
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.
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.Humu; wants to learn catering at Teams4U Vocational Institute, Waterloo
The COVID pandemic has hit this already fragile country hard, with the costs of food rising as much as 30% due to restrictions on travel and imports. This is in a country where the proportion of the population that would be devastated by an unexpected medical bill is 46% higher than the average for Africa.
Our vocational training colleges are aiming to provide people with a route to survival and even success. A monthly donation of £25 would support one student learn a vocational skill and adapt to the fragility of life here.
Please support our students who are bravely pursuing their educations in the hope of a better life.