ST MARY'S church family has been supporting the work of St George Foundation in Sierra Leone since the terrible Ebola crisis in 2015. To better understand the work that they are doing, these notes have been extracted from their website. It is heartening to learn the difference our regular donations are making to the lives of these children who have had such an adverse start to life.
ST GEORGE FOUNDATION writes…
Our primary work involves supporting homeless children or street children in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
But this often includes abandoned infants, referrals from social services and children whose families are unable to cope for whatever reason. Our emphasis is on ending their time being homeless and helping them to deal with their problems. Once the process has begun and they are settled, we help them on their journey to reunify them to a settled home with their relatives and ensure they are enrolled in a school for their continued education. This is facilitated via our residential home at Grafton.
On average the children live with us in the home for one academic year during which time we assist them to rehabilitate, adjust to schooling and work with their families to ensure a successful return.
All the children come and live at our centre where there is a boys block, a girls block and facilities and staff to provide a safe and pleasant place to live for the coming year.
On arrival they are made to feel welcome and provided new clothes, their medical issues are tackled as the children often have skin problems, stomach problems and sexually transmitted diseases.
They are fed a healthy diet and plenty of it to get their condition and weight back to normal.
They are introduced to routines and activities to get them used to normal daily life again. We do a lot of singing, dancing, football and play acting to start to learn self discipline and get them to bond with each other.
They have chores and learn to cook and clean the around the home to prepare for when they go home to their real families.
Then they get sent to a local school and we help them catch up with our own tutoring staff in the evenings. School and education is strongly encouraged to help give them freedom and a real chance of success in their future careers.
They are encouraged to go to church or the mosque depending on whether they are from Christian or Muslim backgrounds and they all get to celebrate both sets of holidays.
Interviews take place regularly to find out why they are homeless and what can be done to help them get back to their real families.
Later their families are contacted and prepared for their reunification.
After an academic year on the programme they go home and we help support their ongoing education, ensure that they are cared for properly and we help them with medical emergencies that may come up in the future.
When the children come into us at the start of the year they are very stressed and often violent, involved in crime and prostitution as a normal state of affairs. Within weeks they realise we are serious and things are improving for them. This removes the stress and anger and they quickly become great children that are fun, witty and intelligent and a pleasure to be around and support…it is very rewarding for us to help them turn their lives around.
CAN YOU HELP THESE CHILDREN TODAY?
The St George Foundation does not receive funds from national campaigns or the UK Government to support its vital work transforming children's lives.
To support each child costs the charity £5/day, which includes the provision of food, shelter, medical care and enrolment at a local school. However, to continue our work we need your help.
97% of your donation is spent on the actual project: achieved by very low UK overheads and no paid staff in the UK
The work of the charity in Sierra Leone is supported by generous regular giving and fundraising through the UK charity, St George Foundation, UK. Further funding to sustain the work of the charity within Sierra Leone is raised through commercial enterprise and sponsored challenges, both in the UK and Sierra Leone.
Find out how you can help by visiting the website https://www.stgeorgefoundation.org.uk/home