SHARP Sierra Leone News July, 2022

Welcome to the first edition of SHARP News. This month we will introduce you to our programs. SHARP is a four pronged charity consisting of The Empowering Children School, sustainable agriculture education and a seed bank, disaster relief, and an eventual safe community locating residents out of the flood zone. We work with children and their families in the flood prone communities of Freetown in Sierra Leone. 

The founder of SHARP is Ibrahim Kamara, a former forced child soldier from a traditional village in Sierra Leone. Ibrahim began The Empowering Children School to give children in the slums a better future. The other programs have grown from a desire to help not only the children, but their families. 

Early Rains Signal the Start of the Rainy Season  

Like every year, the beginning of the rains is the start of an unfavorable climate condition that makes living super challenging for residents in poverty stricken communities of Freetown.

Every year flooding devastates the city of Freetown.

The communities have always been highly impacted areas because not only are the shelters not strong enough to resist high water pressure, but the swamp lands on which the communities are built are naturally prone to flooding. Poverty becomes inevitable when you add in the poor environmental and sanitation conditions, which lead to increased risk of illness, hunger and starvation.

Each season, families regularly lose their belongings, homes, and livelihoods. With many families engaging in petty trade with loans from microcredits for small businesses, when their homes are threatened, so are their income-generating opportunities.

The Safe Haven Adaptive Response Program (SHARP) started on August 15, 2017 as an emergency response for mudslide and flash flood survivors in Sierra Leone. Initially conceived to provide basic needs for residents in the poverty stricken communities of Congo town, our vision has grown towards developing sustainable climate resiliency for the families we serve.

Our programs are guided by our theory that you must address the root causes of poverty in these communities; exposure to extreme weather. By relocating families to safe homes, we ensure climate resiliency. Then by ensuring access to quality education, and promoting sustainable agriculture, SHARP will reduce overall poverty rates in the long term.

             Our Mission

Safe Haven Adaptive Response Program [SHARP] is addressing the unfavorable climate condition in Freetown with a sustainable solution by providing disaster relief, access to quality education, sustainable agriculture programs, and relocation of families to safe climate areas.

We hope that our disaster response and climate disaster mitigation programs serve as an example for other programs around the world addressing the impacts of climate change on at-risk communities, and ensuring resilience for all humans.

               Our Vision

 We plan to build a safe community with 2,000 homes within 20 years. The village, named Safe Haven will enable  families to be relocated out of flood zones, and permanently resolve climate induced poverty for thousands of residents. As of 2021, we have secured 50 acres of land, for the community. 

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Meet Ibrahim A Kamara

“In 2008 the slum was the only place I could afford to live. While residing there I noticed that the vast majority of the children were not in school.  I did not know the cause until I built a makeshift structure in the slums, investing 50% of my time every day teaching children, giving them a better future

As the school developed, more children were enrolled and there were more volunteer teachers. In the rainy seasons, heavy downpours flooded the community. This kept students at home for many weeks. In home visits, I found that students’ absenteeism was caused by the overwhelming impact of the flood. I learned most would not attend school because they needed to care for their sick parents, or to help rebuild their homes that had been  destroyed by the flood. The children in the slums could not achieve their dreams because of the floods. I didn’t want them to experience what I experienced as a child. 

This is what inspired me to take action  in Freetown, as residents constantly experienced the challenges and threats of climate change”

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Ibrahim A Kamara is the founder of SHARP, Safe Haven, and Empowering Children School

 “I have a team of 15 active teachers, 5 staff members and work with 50 farmers in the rural district” Ibrahim 

Our Greatest Need Currently

Our 15 dedicated teachers have not had their salary paid for 3 months. This impacts the teachers and their families. We need $3,600 to pay teachers, and get ready for the coming school year. Not only are our teachers dedicated, but they do a fabulous job. Last year every student required to take the national exam passed with good marks. Please consider helping us pay our teachers by making a donation.












Our Programs 

Quality Education 

SHARP has successfully relocated The Empowering Children School out of the flood zone. As a result, the school community of 200 pupils and 15 staff have been given access to quality education and an uninterrupted learning environment where they can study in the safety of knowing their materials, classrooms, and learning environment will not be upended by annual floods. A Generous donor provided funds to furnish the school with desks, computers, and screens, and also paid our rent for a year!

The school is 15 minutes outside of the community. To build on our success in the area of education, in 2020 SHARP successfully secured a school bus to transport pupils to and from the new school grounds. This was purchased with a large donation from an individual, and crowd funding.

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Sustainable Agriculture

SHARP worked in collaboration with the U.S. based nonprofit, Kids Can Make A Difference, to develop a community seed bank to ensure seed and food security. A space was secured where we will stock seeds which will then be loaned to farmers, and repaid in seeds after harvest.

In 2021 50 small-hold farmers were given sustainable agriculture training and received seed loans. We are hoping to triple that impact in 2022. Hunger continues to be one of the biggest problems affecting families in the flood prone areas, as their livelihoods and their food supplies are often wiped out by the water. Our no-interest seed loan program promises to reduce starvation, as farmers will have seeds needed to grow food. 

Disaster Relief 

During floods, the most immediate need of residents is dry clothing and bedding. SHARP responds by providing these items, dry clothing and bedding. Bales of used clothing are purchased with donations, and volunteers sort and distribute the clothing to residents.

The UN SDGs identify Zero Poverty and Climate Action as key areas for ensuring long-term sustainable development. However, at SHARP, we believe that in order to achieve Zero Poverty, we must first address the root cause; the yearly floods which keep the community at risk of losing everything, trapping them in a cycle of poverty. This is the foundational guideline that drives SHARP’s mission; to provide a sustainable community out of the flood zone.



What We Believe

At SHARP, we believe that families need to relocate in order to truly escape the cycle of poverty


Concluding Remarks by the Executive Director

We are making a call to people across the world – individuals, companies, organizations, and programs – who care about our shared planet  to come and join us by making the world a safer place for its inhabitants. We believe that change happens one person at a time, one family at a time and one community at a time; by providing a safe, dry home or school for one student, we provide them a newfound opportunity to impact our collective future.


COVID-19 significantly impacted our work by posing challenges to both fundraising and for the families and communities with whom work. We hope to increase both funding, and in turn, our impact upon the community in the coming year. We look forward to providing more seed supply, disaster response, to securing a permanent site for a new school community, and to eventually relocating families to a safe and sustainable community.


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1 Comment

  • Mark

    Reply September 12, 2022 4:16 pm

    Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

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