Sierra Leone remains one of the poorest countries in the world and in 2016 had the lowest life expectancy globally. Almost one in five children don’t reach their fifth birthday. Within this resource-poor context, those with disabilities, including neurological conditions and intellectual disabilities, often face devastating social exclusion, with profound educational and livelihood consequences, contributing significantly to ill-health and poverty.
We are working with partners on a number of initiatives in Sierra Leone:
Collaboration with the Sierra Leone Association of People With Albinism (SLAPWA), developing health care materials, providing sun protection items and technical assistance with capacity-building.
- Support to the Epilepsy Association of Sierra Leone on awareness-raising and stigma-reduction;
- Employment training opportunities for people with disabilities, including work placements;
- Capacity-development for the Sierra Leone Autistic Society and the Browne-Penn Special School and the supply of play resources.
- Support to the Hosetta Abdullah Special Needs School in Freetown, including the purchase of a mini-bus in 2017 to enable the children to attend school and the stipend of a volunteer teaching assistant.
- Sponsoring of a student undertaking a Masters Degree in Special Needs Education, University of Makeni.
In December 2017 we organised the first autism conference in Sierra Leone with The British Council and Disability Africa. The full conference report is available here.
We have donated two sets of mini-libraries on disability issues to hospital libraries at Bo Government Hospital and Makeni Government Hospital – including texts on autism, Down’s syndrome, epilepsy, sickle cell disease, cerebral palsy and learning disability nursing.