In a place like Manjamadu, a rural village in eastern Sierra Leone without access to quality healthcare facilities, a small scratch can lead to a life-threatening infection. Several years ago, Daniel, now 13, was playing soccer with friends when he cut his right foot on a tree stump. Untreated, Daniel’s foot and then leg became badly infected, and his leg had to be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading. His father, who had already lost three children to the Ebola epidemic in 2014, kept his son at home from then on.
Last year, Mambu, a community outreach worker representing Humanity & Inclusion’s Educate a Child project, heard about Daniel, and strongly encouraged his family to send him to school. Because children with disabilities are often left out of the education system in Sierra Leone, HI’s community outreach workers seek out children like Daniel and connect them with the support they need.
HI helps children with disabilities to learn by enrolling them in school, providing them with assistive devices and school supplies, and by educating parents, teachers, and other community members about the importance of including all children in school.
Today, Daniel is a fifth grader at the Kono District Education Committee School. With his teachers’ encouragement, he is slowly building up his confidence. He is even planning to participate in the school’s upcoming sports tournament. “In the future, I want to become a teacher,” says Daniel with a big smile.
“Each time I see a child that I identified attending school, I feel proud that I have been given the opportunity to change their life,” says Mambu.
In addition to helping children, Humanity & Inclusion also improves the accessibility of school buildings through the installation of wheelchair ramps and other features, training teachers to work with special needs students, and providing adapted teaching materials to schools.
Beginning in 2014, west Africa was the scene of largest Ebola outbreak in history, with some 29,000 cases and 11,300 deaths reported. Many more cases were suspected. Sierra Leone was one of the countries most severely affected, with an estimated 13,000 cases.
In response, Humanity and Inclusion deployed a team of 250 ambulance and decontamination staff in Sierra Leone, who transported more than 3,700 patients showing symptoms of Ebola to treatment centers and disinfected nearly 1,800 homes. Operating in the country’s Western district, which includes the capital of Freetown, the project managed a fleet of 30 ambulances and 15 decontamination vehicles.
On November 7th, 2016 Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free.
Since the end of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, HI shifted its attention to rehabilitation and support for Ebola survivors and other people with disabilities.
At least 500 people, including 150 children, have died in the floods and landslides in Freetown, with hundreds more missing. The scale and trauma of the disaster that took place in the capital of Sierra Leone on August 14 is becoming clear.Read more
More than 300 people have died in the floods and landslides in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, with hundreds more missing. According to reports, 3,000 people are homeless. With a presence in Sierra Leone for the past 21 years, Handicap International is on the ground, providing critical support.Read more
Meet Handicap International's Ebola Warriors in Sierra Leone who helped bring the Ebola outbreak to an end in that country. In fighting Ebola, our staff worked under harsh conditions and put themselves at risk to prevent people in Sierra Leone—and around the world—from getting sick. They remain on call today in case Ebola returns. Please let them know you’re grateful for their hard work and dedication. Write a message of thanks and words of encouragement below. In the coming weeks, we will deliver your messages to them in Sierra Leone.Send my message
Mike Denny is a nurse and Infection Prevention & Control specialist from Gallup, New Mexico, U.S. He served as the Infection Prevention & Control Manager for the Ambulance project in Sierra Leone from June to November, 2015. This was his first mission for Handicap International.Read more