Addressing the Challenges
In my many trips to Sierra Leone, I’ve spent time with some of the most wonderful people in the world—the most precious children—who have been living in extreme poverty and who have suffered so much:
- A terrible civil war that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than two million people (about one third of the population)
- The outbreak of Ebola which caused the deaths of over 3,500 people and the infection of over 8,500 more. This horror came with the closing of schools, markets, and entire villages making so much worse what was already a challenging existence.
Families have broken apart and are now homeless; orphanages are overflowing; and food and jobs are scarce. The country is working to restore its economy finding ways to heal. Yet countless challenges remain.
Now more than ever the people of Sierra Leone need your support, particularly the children. Because the future of our world lies in the hands of children, nurturing and educating them should be the country’s top priority.
A Brighter Tomorrow for Africa Foundation (BTA) is, and has been for years, making a difference through the establishment of school feeding programs. There is ample evidence that school feeding programs make a truly positive difference in children’s lives as they provide—
- Nourishment through meals they would otherwise not get. This translates to weight gain and improved overall health leading to higher capacity to focus and concentrate in school;
- The incentive for children to attend and stay in school every day;
- The promise that children will succeed in school and thus advance to higher levels of education.
“Auntie” Sarah’s first BTA school feeding program began in 2004 with 100 students in the Upper Banta Chiefdom/Moyamba Province. It has grown to more than 1,200. Students receive breakfast and lunch and they call the meals “My BTA.” Being nourished has led to great success: this past year, 90% of students passed their national exams to advance to the next level of school.
This period in a child’s life is vital; their minds are at the most absorbent stage of development. Educating the brain as young as possible is key to creating a path to success later in life.
It is for this reason that BTA is now focusing exclusively on school feeding programs.