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Project SIerra: a project to be proud of!
In January nine Soroptimists crossed of the world’s poorest countries. Alison Chris and Margaret hope to convey a
the world to visit Project SIerra. The Sutherland, SI Project Liaison (a Sierra little to you just how important it is that
experience was profound! Their report Leone resident) was a wonderful source Project SIerra succeeds in changing the
illustrates the project’s value and of information. Our lives were changed lives of so many women and girls in
inspires more activity. Margaret Cook by this visit and by sharing just a few Sierra Leone. They have so little, WE can
says: “Jo and Kirsty from Hope and or our highlights with you, we – Alice, make the difference for them and the
Homes helped us appreciate life in one Cathy, Wilma, Evelyn, Liz, Anne, Gina, future of this beautiful country”.
“Our trip featured ‘first class’ and danced to the beat of
tickets on the rusting ferry – drums as we progressed from
we were upstairs! Singing and the gate of the compound
dancing, heroes of the civil to the training centre. After
war who saved orphans from a delicious lunch prepared
behind rebel lines, Christians by the catering class, the
and Muslims saying each girls showed off their skills:
other’s prayers and road tailoring, hairdressing, tie-
safety signs featuring slogans dying – and manicure! They
‘Love thy neighbour, but not work hard to take advantage
while driving!’ This co-exists of the opportunities offered
with desperate poverty.” by Project SIerra.”
“Beautiful Sierra Leone – we “Hanna is an 18 year old
have it so easy in comparison mother in Bo. She became
to the women there! With pregnant; her parents asked
all the hardships they endure her to leave. She lived on
every day, I was in awe of the street and gave birth to
their spirit. They aren’t her son. Hanna still wanted
looking for a handout, to attend school but her
but are so appreciative of parents refused to help.
any assistance. At a village Learning about HANCI from
meeting in Tambakha, we a friend on the programme,
were told that HANCI is the she managed to enrol to
only NGO they will work study catering. She was
with. Girls get an education, “My highlight was the “It is difficult to explain the reunited with her parents
gain life skills; women’s Kissy project, the girls had emotions – they thanked us and after training she worked
lives are transformed. The a real spark in their songs for our support but I wanted in a hotel and graduated
HANCI staff - all from Sierra and speeches about the to thank them for their smiles with a Certificate of Merit
Leone - know the girls’ needs. programme. They epitomised and kindness. Eight years in Catering and Hotel
100 per cent of Soroptimist the necessity for investment after a terrible war, children Management and a start up
money is going to help these in youth; they have the skills are the first challenge kit to set up a business selling
young women.” and self-belief to run with for a better future. Life is cooking items from a stall,
these opportunities.” improving for women with she hopes to have a small
“The thing that inspired education and help from restaurant. Hanna told 2
me was the care taken “My happiest memory is the organisations like SI and young unsupported mothers
by HANCI and Hope amazing “welcomes” received HANCI. They help people about HANCI and both are
and Homes for Children at SI projects and from local - not giving them a fish but now in the Teenage Mothers
to collaborate with people. Sierra Leone may lack giving them a fishing rod!” Programme.”
communities; they assess basic infrastructure, many
needs, listen to the people people live below the poverty “What a privilege to
and develop programmes to line, but their generosity experience the colour,
respond to identified needs. and determination to build sound and excitement of the
We deserve to be proud of a better life highlights how welcome ceremony at Bo.
this partnership.” they value our interest.” Smiling girls chanted, sang
TIS March 2010 Page 10
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