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Fifty years, fifty countries: Sierra Leone

By Emily Owen | 04 Oct 2018

Between 2014 and 2015 the Ebola epidemic ravaged Sierra Leone. More than 11,300 people died, the country’s finances plummeted and the people of Sierra Leone were faced with a long, slow struggle to recovery...

To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in Sierra Leone.

Between 2014 and 2015 the Ebola epidemic ravaged Sierra Leone. More than 11,300 people died, the country’s finances plummeted and the people of Sierra Leone were faced with a long, slow struggle to recovery. Thankfully the country is now at peace and the economy has begun a slow upturn, but poverty is still widespread. A massive 86.7 per cent of the people of Sierra Leone do not have access to safe toilets and 37 per cent are still without clean drinking water.

Tearfund has been working with the people of Sierra Leone since 1996. In recent years the focus of in-country partners BCSL and NEHADO has been responding to the needs of those affected by the Ebola epidemic. Together, with our support, they have made a huge impact. They have provided fresh water and hygiene kits, as well as training for community and faith leaders in preventing Ebola, and psychosocial support and cash for affected households.

In other work, our partners come alongside the most vulnerable families, bringing hope and transformation to parents like Saramba*...

Transforming lives through relationships
A lot of NEHADO’s work focuses on enabling churches to work with communities to see lasting ways to overcome poverty.

Pregnant with her third child, Saramba found herself alone when her husband abandoned her without any notice. With no income, very little food and scared of giving birth without medical support, Saramba felt so desperate that she contemplated suicide. But, the staff from NEHADO drew alongside her. They sent a Mother Buddy to befriend Saramba, someone to encourage and to attend hospital appointments with her.

‘I gave birth to my first two children at home,’ says Saramba. ‘I was not able to go to the hospital because I could not afford the cost, but when the Mother Buddy accompanied me to the hospital, I was not asked to pay any money.’

Through the help of NEHADO, Saramba completed her recommended visits and safely gave birth to a healthy baby.

Strengthening family and faith
NEHADO continued to support Saramba with resources such as bottles, nappies and a mosquito net to protect her baby. With the addition of a livelihood cash grant, which she used to start up a business selling items such as oil and rice, Saramba is confidently providing for her children.

‘I contemplated suicide because I could not take care of myself, my son, and my unborn child,’ says Saramba. ‘I thought it was the end. But my encounter with my Mother Buddy brought hope to me. I am now in a position to take care of myself and my children. I now know that God is a faithful God. He brought help to me at my lowest point in life.’

Read more about Sierra Leone on our country page.

Please Pray

  • Praise God for Saramba’s positive attitude as she builds her business and lifts her family out of poverty. Pray that she will continue to feel encouraged and supported.
  • Pray for the ongoing work of our partners in Sierra Leone, especially among vulnerable parents like Saramba and children like hers.
  • Pray that Saramba’s children will be inspired by their mother’s resilience and hard work, and will pursue their own ambitions as they grow up.
  • *Name changed to protect identity.

    Missed articles in this series? Find them here.

    Written by

    Photo of Emily Owen

    Written by Emily Owen

    Emily is Tearfund’s Junior Copywriter. She loves reading and writing stories about people who change the world, so copywriting for Tearfund is a great fit.