Helping Girls in Sierra Leone
The people of Sierra Leone in West Africa have seen
more than their share of conflict. More than 50,000 people died during the civil
war that raged from 1991 to 2002, and in the decade following the end of the
fighting, life is still far from easy. This is particularly true for the
thousands of young women and girls who suffered at the hands of soldiers. Many
girls and women in Sierra Leone were sexually exploited, abused and killed, and
a decade later, women are still struggling to recover. ChildFund
has worked in Sierra Leone since 1985, and we continue to work with girls
and women so they can fulfill their potential.
Rebuilding Piece by Piece
during the war have left their mark on many of Sierra Leone's survivors.
Psychological trauma stemming from sexual abuse is among the most common
challenges facing many women and girls in the country, and without treatment,
this debilitating condition can make it almost impossible for them to
reintegrate into society and move on with their lives.
To promote children's
rights and help survivors cope with their experiences, ChildFund has trained
more than 1,000 adults to provide care and support for girls and young women.
Our initiatives have also helped girls understand their rights. Following
training programs, young
women like Wotay have gone on to work with ChildFund and our local partners
to provide information and support to children from impoverished
Even girls and young
women who were not affected by sexual abuse and violence during the war face
many hardships. Gender discrimination, as well as an overall de-valuation of
education in Sierra Leone (more than 60 percent of children are not enrolled in
school), keeps many girls from getting an education, making it difficult to
break the cycle of poverty.
have touched hundreds of girls' lives, though, and have helped them overcome
adversity and achieve their goals. We've helped provide child-friendly spaces,
family mediation, psychosocial support and job training. In the Youth Employment
and Support Project, which we run with funding from the World Bank, many young
women have enrolled in vocational programs.
"My dream is to become
one of the best female auto mechanics in the country, so I can work for the big
companies," said 18-year-old Mamadi.
Conditions are slowly
improving in Sierra Leone, but we need your help to maintain the momentum we
have established. To invest in the future of Sierra Leone, please consider sponsoring
a child. Your support will make a world of difference to a vulnerable child,
and give him or her the chance they need to emerge from poverty.