Rebuilding your life when disaster hits

FloodsDisastersSierra Leone

Circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. What was so certain can be swept away and our world can suddenly become uprooted. This is Yaema’s* survival story.

Yaema lost almost everything when torrential downpour and floods hit Sierra Leone’s capital. Her husband, swept away. Their home, ruined. Her business, destroyed. Only her children remained safe. ‘I could not salvage anything’, she shares.

Sierra Leone is rated by the UN as one of the highest at-risk countries for natural disasters in the world. In mid-2017, flash floods and torrential rain triggered a landslide, killing over 500 people and displacing many more.

Before the disaster, Yaema was a business owner. Her children went to school, and she was able to afford the fees and stationery for them. In her own words, ‘We were a happy family’.

But overnight everything changed. What seemed so secure was gone. When the floods hit, the family sought refuge at a church – a Tearfund local partner – where they received food, water and toiletries. ‘We survived on what the church gave us’, Yaema says.

At Tearfund we are passionate about working with people to secure their own future and to thrive. Our local partners supported Yaema and her family in the interim, but it was important to help them with the tools they needed to rebuild their lives too.

Yaema was chosen to receive a cash grant to help her begin to restore her life. With the money she was able to rent a house and open a small shop. She already has plans to open a bigger shop in the future. What’s important to Yaema is that she is able to provide for her family again.

Trust in God
Yaema is certain it was God that helped turn her life around. ‘God saw my tears and he helped me out. I give him glory and praise because he did it for me and my family’.

Our God isn’t distant. He cares and provides for us. Yaema concludes, ‘Now I know there is a God who we can trust that will never fail me. When we lost everything I thought it was over for me and my family, but God came in time and lifted us up.’


  • Thank God for his provision through Tearfund’s partner for Yaema and her family, and pray that her business continues to grow.
  • Lift up Tearfund and their local partners who respond to disasters. Pray for safety and wisdom as they reach those in need.
  • Pray for protection over Sierra Leone, a high-risk country for natural disasters.

*Name changed to protect identity