The Sierra Leone government, having experienced the Ebola crisis in 2014, has set a strict curfew and other rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. The curfew and rules make it very difficult for people to buy and sell food daily in the marketplace, as they normally would. Sierra Leoneans do not typically have pantries or refrigerators to keep extra food.
Over the past four years we have reunified more than 230 children in southeastern Sierra Leone with their biological/extended families. A small team of social workers, who work with Kidsave’s partner in Sierra Leone, the Foundation for Integrated Development (FID) recently visited their villages to make sure the children are fed, safe and attending school. The social workers found that even though the children were not in any danger, many were not getting enough food, and nearly 60 of them could not obtain their report cards for the last academic year because their families could not afford to pay the school fees.
In response, Kidsave sent funds to buy food staples (rice, sugar and salt) and school supplies, and to pay for the modest school fees so the children could stay in school. Our social workers faced many challenges — not just getting from village to village — but also distributing food to our families because the need for food is so widespread. Kidsave is also helping these families get the extra money they need to grow their own food during this terribly difficult time.
Although Kidsave’s reunification efforts in Sierra Leone are on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recently reunited 11 orphans with family members at the request of Mpondo Home, an orphanage that was overcrowded and unable to feed all the children.
Clearly, the need right now is to help these families survive. Our hope is to be able return to reunifying children with families sometime in 2021 when, we all hope, food security is no longer an issue. Funding is an issue, and Kidsave welcomes your support for this program, choose Sierra Leone in the drop down.
TOP PHOTO: Abel Mansaray, who was reunified with her grandfather in Buma village, said, “I feel like [I] am dreaming.. your school and food support cannot go off my memory as it has taking over a week without eating rice which is our staple. I promise to make you proud and become a good girl. Thank you Kidsave for saving my life.”
CENTER PHOTO: Bockari Sawaneh receives school and food aid support from Kidsave – Bockari Sawaneh said “Kidsave school and food support is a blessing to my new family. COVID-19 has seriously affected our household, as all the monies saved by my Aunt is no more. She also lost her job. Your support will go a long way in alleviating our suffering. Thank you Kidsave, and thank you FID.”
BOTTOM PHOTO: “Blessing, Francis and Peace Kamara in a joyous mood upon receiving the food and school support)