JULY, 2023 Newsletter

More than half of the children in Sierra Leone (60%) over 15 years old are illiterate, and half of those dropping out of primary school are unable to read or write. Existing research points to household poverty as the main reason for children not attending school. Poverty increases  vulnerability to barriers like poor health, lunch, school supplies, food insecurity, etc., and this is an obstacle for the majority of families whose children who are not in school. The majority of the families of these children are living on less than $2 per day.

The government of Sierra Leone announced free education for all government and government supported schools five years ago. Even though this has boosted a significant amount of enrollment, there’s still a big gap as more classrooms and teachers are needed to meet the overwhelming student population. For many areas where an available learning institution is miles and miles away, free education is considered useless. Also in many areas where there is a building but no teachers, the building is useless. For the fortunate areas that have learning centers, parents still have to raise the funds for things like shoes, uniforms, school supplies, lunch, and in most cases transportation costs. All of these barriers are the main cause for children to drop out of school in poverty- stricken communities. 

 This is where Hannah and Lansanna Amara find themselves. Hanna and Lansana are parenting six children, with none in school currently, and no income.  The only hope they have was given to them three months ago, as a bag of peanut seed and a bag of rice seed loaned from SHARP’s seed bank. Today their crops are growing with promising prospects for a good harvest. 

Like many families we support with seeds and tools to grow their crops, Hanna and Lansanna are hoping their two oldest children, Sarrah and Aminata, can return to school after the harvest and sale of their crops in August. These two children started school two years ago but dropped out due to financial reasons. Lansana explained that farming is their only source of income, but good seeds and tools are expensive, preventing them from raising crops and causing their family to live in hunger. Even if they are able to send the oldest 2, the other 4 will have to wait 2 to 3 years before the family has the funds. On our routine visit to their farm, we found them with their six children joyfully weeding their crops, with the oldest children anxiously waiting for the harvest so they can return to school. Their parents really wish they could send all of their school-age children, and hope to extend their seed loan to plant more crops next year.

You can support a child and help parents like Hanna and Lansana. For a donation of $150, you can cover a child’s scholarship at Empowering Children School for a year. With just $450 you can send 3 children to school for a year, but any amount can help us cover expenses to keep our school operating. Please consider helping a child to stay in school, giving them a better future.

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