Two years after West Africa was declared Ebola-free, the SAFE
Foundation visited Sierra Leone and witnessed first-hand how the country is still very much
suffering the costs of the outbreak.


For the first time since the Ebola epidemic hit, SAFE’s charity director Hannah Fitt was able
to visit a primary school in the area of Lumpa, which it has been supporting since 2011, to
assess the impacts and what is needed moving forward.


While the nation is no longer in a state of emergency, it is clear that it is struggling to
recover from the damage caused by a series of disasters. The Ebola outbreak, along with the
mudslides two years later, has left the Kankaylay Islamic School completely stripped of
resources. They are severely lacking the books, stationary and teaching materials they need
to provide the children with a proper education. Where the school previously supplied each
child with a hot meal every day, the crisis has meant that government money has been
directed elsewhere, so this provision is no longer possible. Some children are now lucky if
they eat five meals a week. In addition to being hungry, children are arriving to the
classroom exhausted because they don’t have beds to sleep on.


The desperate poverty has also led to the school looking after very young infants, diverting
attention away from teaching and towards childcare.


Six teachers at the school are no longer being paid but are still working six days a week to
make sure the children continue to receive some level of education, with some of them
walking over ten miles each day to get there. The teachers have also resorted to taking in
some of the orphans themselves, despite barely having enough to provide for their own
families. It is vital that these teachers receive a salary - this means of living is not sustainable
in the long run.


With the threat of Ebola gone and it being viable for SAFE to get back out to Sierra Leone,
now is the time to start rebuilding and helping get the community back on their feet. What
can you do? It is really quite simple. A hot meal to feed a child costs just 40p. An annual
salary for a teacher is only £800. Any contributions can make a difference straight away;
within 6 months the results will be tangible and felt by the whole community. But they will
also have an impact long into the future, giving children who have endured horrific events
the chance to start again.


SAFE is also asking for donations of materials that can be sent over to the school:

  • School resources – exercise books, pencil cases, stationery
  • School bags
  • English dictionaries
  • Craft materials – playdough, plasticine, coloured card
  • Junior level textbooks – English, maths
  • Reading books
  • Resources for walls – alphabet posters, number posters, junior level
  • Adult bikes for the teachers to travel to school
  • Storage units – small drawers, filing cabinets etc
  • Home economics items - cooking supplies, pans, wooden spoons
  • Futons (roll up mattresses) for children to sleep on
  • Sports equipment – balls, bibs, cones
  • First aid – plasters, bandages, antiseptic wash, sanitary products

Quotes

“We’ve been supporting the school since 2011 and were all shocked at the deprivation
when we started but having gone back 7 years later after the natural disasters and health
epidemic we’ve been stunned at how seriously they impacted the already desperate
situation. However, I also feel really encouraged that there’s so much we can do and can see
very clearly how we can make a massive difference straight away.” – Hannah Fitt, Director
of the SAFE Foundation


“We have met many problems in our country, with the children suffering the most. Ebola
killed many family members and then the mudslides. After, we had many health problems
and now many are left with nothing. We are excited about our work with SAFE because we
know the value and difference it will make: it will give our children the future they deserve.”
– Mohammed Bangura, Headteacher of the Kankaylay Islamic School

Note to Editors


The SAFE Foundation, founded by twin sisters Hannah Fitt and Lucy Dickenson, is a Cardiff-
based international development charity. It is committed to helping poor communities in
developing countries access basic human rights, education and healthcare. In addition, the
SAFE Foundation works with vulnerable young people in the UK, helping them to reach their
potential and reconnect with society and the world.


SAFE works with the Kankaylay Islamic School to deliver a programme of education that
focuses on social skills, decision making and building confidence, as well as highlighting
issues of HIV and AIDS, nutritional health and gender equality. SAFE also provides funding
for the infrastructure of the school and support 25 orphans who are most in need.