Following over a decade of civil war and a devastating Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone’s education system has been all but decimated. Girls have been the worst affected, with 46% of girls and young women aged 15-24 left unable to read and write.
Charity Street Child is working to change this. In 2016 they spoke to over 2,000 girls across Sierra Leone and identified the top five barriers to girls’ education: poverty, teenage pregnancy, loss of a caregiver, parental attitudes to education and poor teaching quality.
Since then, as part of their Girls Speak Out appeal Street Child have been working to tackle the barriers to girls’ education in Sierra Leone and Liberia supporting 10,000 girls to go to school and stay there.
Already they have provided educational support to over 11,000 children and supported over 2,500 families to set up businesses so they can afford the cost of sending their daughters to school. Families just like 17-year-old Salmata’s.
After losing her sister to Ebola, Salmata ended up alone, pregnant and working on a rubbish dump, looking for plastic to sell with little hope of ever going to school. She was on the dump when she had her first contractions and had to call for help to avoid giving birth amongst the rubbish.
When a Street Child social worker found Salmata she reunited her with a caregiver. By supporting her caregiver with a grant and business training, Salmata was able to return to school. “School is going well. I like maths best. I want to become a nurse. My hope for my baby is that she will get to go to school and be prominent when she grows up.”
Salmata was just one of the thousands of girls across Sierra Leone who are out of school. Street Child are working to give 10,000 of these girls a chance of a brighter future by helping them to go to school. With your help, they can reach thousands more.