Every day is a good day to help improve the health and spirit of women and children in Sierra Leone. Your support will have a meaningful, direct impact on future generations of this special country, a place where I am known as “Auntie" Sarah.
Please read below about our accomplishments, all of which we were able to do because A Brighter Tomorrow for Africa's (BTA) funds went directly to those in need. I know you will want to help us expand upon these successes.
Since 2005, a Brighter tomorrow for africa has…
Since 2005, BTA has funded a program to feed children at the Mallory Jansen Memorial School, Ngolala, Upper Banta Chiefdom, Moyamba District. We began with approximately 100 kids and now we are up to over 1,200 daily.
We provide breakfast and a nutritious meal at lunch—a dish of rice with a sauce of fish and beans for protein—prepared by women from nearby villages.
The feeding program is great for saving the lives of undernourished children as, of course, it will result in all of them gaining weight and school feeding programs are also proven to be successful for academic achievement. According to one of our students, Eddie, “the BTA food is very useful for every school child who is attending school in Ngolala. They are very grateful for the BTA supply and hope that it will continue as it has a great impact in their learning at school.”
A Nourished Child Success Story
THE IMPACT OF A BRIGHTER TOMORROW FOR AFRICA (BTA) IN MY LIFE
By Henry Tower
I was born in Sierra Leone to a single parent family and I live with my mother, two sisters and a brother.
I came to know the Children of the Nations school (with the feeding programme funded by BTA) in 2005 when I was a school drop-out selling kerosene in the streets.
As a little boy with an empty stomach every morning, I used to find it difficult to go and be in school with a concentrated mind. But I say thanks to God for you all who provided food through BTA for us in school every day. This food has been a contributing factor in my education because it made me healthy, active and focused. Moreover, it made me punctual in school every day because I never wanted to miss the food for a day.
As a result of this wonderful meal (BTA) provided by you, I stayed in school healthy and active for many years and I am happy to let you all know that I am presently the Head Teacher (Principal) in the same school that I attended and in which I benefited from the BTA food. I say thanks to you all for your kind hearts of giving and I want you to know that there are more success stories in the pipeline from my brothers and sisters who are still going to school benefiting from A BRIGHTER TOMORROW FOR AFRICA (BTA) Food.
Direct Support to Victims of the Mudslides in Sierra Leone
In August of 2017, Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, was devastated by mudslides. Hundreds died and thousands are displaced. Most left their home villages and went to live in displaced persons’ camps. These camps were in desperate need of food and medical supplies to service these people. They also needed sleeping mats and blankets.
I needed to go and help so I traveled to Freetown and purchased and distributed these critical items directly to the survivors. Following are the steps I took to accomplish this challenging goal:
- First: While still in the States, I communicated with my friends and colleagues in Sierra Leone to determine how we could acquire the items needed and what our budget would be.
- Second: I raised funds to cover these costs – including a very generous $10,000 donation from Abt Associates.
- Third: I traveled to Sierra Leone and exchanged USD’s into Leone’s (Sierra Leone’s currency).
- Fourth: Once in-country, my contacts and I secured a truck and went to the markets at which we could acquire what we needed for the survivors: food, blankets, mats, and medical supplies.
- Fifth: We drove the loaded truck to the camps and to a hospital to deliver the items—directly to those in need.
As a result of sound management of funds, in addition to the food, sleeping mats, blankets and medical supplies, BTA was also able to put together 109 school kits for the most impacted children.
The kits contained: backpacks, uniforms and shoes as well as notebooks, pens, pencils and, for some kids in senior classes, geometry sets were added to the supplies.
As with our school feeding programs, all donated monies go directly to the programs we support. I take no salary and cover administrative and travel costs myself. Through BTA, every penny donated makes an enormous difference.
Responding to the Ebola Epidemic
When the Ebola outbreak began in Sierra Leone, BTA responded in a number of ways. We:
- Purchased no-touch thermometers and sent them over to Sierra Leone so that the children could have their temperatures read safely and regularly.
- Purchased radios for each of the villages. Because the kids were not able to go to school for about a year as they were quarantined at home, the country developed a system for teachers to provide lessons by radio. However, while the lessons were broadcast throughout the country, our kids were not able to hear the lessons because they did not have radios. Well—they got them, and were able to “stay in school” thanks to donations provided directly by BTA.
- Identified and supported an orphanage for children whose parents have died of Ebola. When parents die in Sierra Leone, the tradition is that the children are taken in by family and/or residents of the village. This however, doesn’t happen for “Ebola orphans.” People are afraid of them and Sierra Leone, therefore, had to open a lot of new orphanages. BTA has provided funding for food and medical supplies to one of these orphanages, Ben Hirsch, located in Kenema … an area hard hit by the epidemic.
Inoculating Women and Children
BTA conducted an inoculation program in the Upper Banta Chiefdom where disease is commonplace. Typically, none of the children are immunized against a number of preventable diseases. In 2006, BTA inoculated nearly 4,600 children, woman of childbearing age and pregnant women. We immunized them against tuberculosis, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, tetanus, measles and yellow fever at a cost of just 80 cents per person.
Teaching Conflict Management Skills
This program brings with it a different sense of “life-saving” but it is no less critical to Sierra Leone's future. One of the serious consequences of the civil war we referred to earlier was that children either actually fought in the war or were enormously affected by the violence that was all around them. For many of them, therefore, violence is how you resolve conflict. We have worked with these “ex-combatant” children by establishing "Peace Clubs" in 15 schools throughout the north of Sierra Leone impacting a total of nearly 8,000 students.
Nourishing Children • Direct Support to Victims of the Mudslides in Sierra Leone • Responding to the Ebola Epidemic • Inoculating Women and Children • Teaching Conflict Management Skills • Fighting Corruption • Educating Women
Former Sierra Leone Foreign Minister, Zainab Bangura, once described corruption as the number one impediment to economic growth in her country. It is so embedded in society that children do not even know what corruption is. To them, what they see happening around them is all they know.
To counter this, BTA implemented a three-phase program to educate children and to establish Transparency/Anti-Corruption Clubs.
Nourishing Children • Direct Support to Victims of the Mudslides in Sierra Leone • Responding to the Ebola Epidemic • Inoculating Women and Children • Teaching Conflict Management Skills • Educating Women
The illiteracy rate among women in Sierra Leone has been as high as 76%. Thanks to a generous grant from the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (New York City), BTA was able to organize, staff and begin literacy training for women in the capital city of Freetown.
Education for 90 women took place in 2011. The participants attended classes nine hours a week, in six different market locations, with 15 students per location. Pre and post surveys demonstrated an impact on the program on developing both literacy and market skills.
The then-US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Michael Owen, attended the launch of this program. Later, he had this to say about the importance of the training: “What these Market Women lack in education they more than make up for with their spirit, enthusiasm, and determination. They have already accomplished so much, and with improved literacy, they can go on to play an even more important role in their communities. I wish them every success.”
Nourishing Children • Direct Support to Victims of the Mudslides in Sierra Leone • Responding to the Ebola Epidemic • Inoculating Women and Children • Teaching Conflict Management Skills • Fighting Corruption
Our plan is to extend our accomplishments, and our primary concentration is on school feeding programs and we are focused on four different organizations which are featured on the Our Priority Focus page on this site