Isatu, 10

A girl orphaned by the Freetown mudslides pointed out that she has the same necklace as one of the Street Child coordinators, Santigie..jpg

'We lived with our parents in Kamayama, where the mud came down the mountain. August is the school holidays, so my 5 brothers and I were on holiday staying with our grandmother in the countryside when it happened. We heard the news and my uncle brought us all back. I was scared. We saw that all of the compound, as well as our house, had been taken away.

People there told us our parents had died. I felt so sad. At night we sleep nearby in the house of another aunty in Lumley, but she has four children already and it is only two small rooms. She has no money to take care of us too. When she is working during the day we go to the shelter, where Street Child help us with food – I am happy to have it, especially my brothers.

I like the biscuits, but I share them. Street Child talk to us and help us not to feel sad. My school was not hit with the mud or water, it is still there. But we have no money and we can’t go back. It is sad because I want to feel happier, I want to go back to school.'

DONATIONS TO HELP CHILDREN LIKE ISATU GET BACK TO SCHOOL ARE BEING MATCHED BY SMT SHIPPING!

Mohamed, 11

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'Staying in a tent is better than sleeping outside, but not like having our house. The mud and flood took ours. It was loud and scary. I escaped with my parents and my 4 sisters and 2 brothers. Now our 2 cousins live in the tent with us, because my aunty did not escape. She went back to try to save some things for all of us, but a boulder hit the house as it slid down the mountain and it killed her. Now we are their family.

'It makes my mother cry if she talks about it. I don’t think I can go back to school now, there is no money for new uniform and books, but I want to, because you have to go to school to be a pilot. That’s all I want to be.

'I like looking up and watching the planes go along.  There are people inside there!  If I can be a pilot then I can make money and I can look after my family. Where do I want to go? The airport!'

DONATIONS TO HELP CHILDREN LIKE MOHAMED GET BACK TO SCHOOL ARE BEING MATCHED BY SMT SHIPPING!

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Sam, 12, and his grandmother

Sam's grandmother trying to make him a new school uniform out of scraps of cloth

Sam's grandmother trying to make him a new school uniform out of scraps of cloth

'I have two younger brothers. Our parents died, maybe of malaria or typhoid. I am not sure. I can’t remember it very well, I don’t like to. We live with our grandmother. She works very hard and I try to be good for her and to help her with things, because she is old and alone.

We have a small house between the rubbish dump and the sea. It is flat and the streets are small, so when it floods it is very difficult. The water has gone down, but it took everything first and now everyone worries about diseases. In one week, 10 children in our neighborhood died of sickness and nobody knows what it is – maybe malaria because of all the water.

Everything in our house was destroyed and my grandmother now is sad every day. We were at school, but she says now 'What will I do?' because she cannot pay for more shoes, or books, or uniforms. They were ruined. She is trying to stitch some old things someone gave us so she can make one uniform, but, still, we need the materials. My brothers are good, I like being the oldest; I can look after everyone. Street Child helped my grandmother when our parents died and now we hope they can help us get back to school now. It is too much for her and I am afraid it will happen again next year.'

DONATIONS TO HELP CHILDREN LIKE SAM GET BACK TO SCHOOL ARE BEING MATCHED BY SMT SHIPPING!

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Yembeh, Christian, and George

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'We owned a one-room house in Regent, where the mudslide happened. Luckily we were not at home, otherwise we would have all died. There is nothing left where our house stood, nothing. So many neighbors and people in the community died.

Many have suffered – losing their family, their house, their business. My husband still has a business, he sells slippers and underwear in the market, but trade is hard and now that we have to find somewhere new to rent and have to replace everything, I don’t know what we will do.

I was pregnant when the mudslide happened and since then we have been sleeping on the floor at my parents' house with many other family members. There is not space and it is very difficult. I was at the camp for affected people when I went into labor. It was very busy and noisy, with people sleeping everywhere and trying to cook or get something to eat. I started to have pains. They were so severe I thought I would have the baby right there.

The baby is fine, we think. I am sad about everything but, about that, I am happy. He is a boy and I will call him George, when it’s time for the naming ceremony. I have another son called Christian, he is four. I really want him to go to school, but we have no money to pay. It worries me. Christian is a good boy. He smiles a lot and he is happy he has a brother. What can I do for him? There is just no money now. No way to pay for school.'

DONATIONS TO HELP PARENTS LIKE YEMBEH GET THEIR KIDS INTO SCHOOL ARE BEING MATCHED BY SMT SHIPPING!

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Mabel and joseph

Mabel is fish-seller whose sister Mary - a nurse and the family’s breadwinner - died of Ebola while caring for Ebola patients, leaving Mabel to raise the whole family. She lives in Bo, Sierra Leone's third-largest city.

Joseph, 16, is Mabel's nephew; Mary was his mother. ‘During Ebola I was isolated and stigmatized because of the quarantine. It was really hard. Today I’m feeling better thanks to Street Child’s social workers. My hope for the future is to finish my education and become a lawyer so that I can help my family out of poverty. Education has taught me to read and write and to develop my family. It will help them develop their lives too. I’m good at math and English - they’re my best classes. I also love to dance!’

Mabel cares for 7 children aged 2-16; four of them are Ebola orphans. She says: ‘My sister Mary was the main breadwinner for our family. She took care of all of us. When she died she left behind four children, who I now care for alongside my own. Sadly, just after losing my sister, my husband got sick and ran away. He never returned. We heard a rumor that he’s dead too. But thanks to God and Street Child, after Ebola we are ok. They helped me start this business selling fish. Without this we would suffer.’

Mabel loves gospel music and is an incredibly smiley, vivacious woman who cares deeply about her family. She and Joseph are close, and a great support to each other.

DONATIONS TO HELP PARENTS LIKE MABEL GET THEIR KIDS INTO SCHOOL ARE BEING MATCHED BY SMT SHIPPING!

MARIATU, THE EBOLA ORPHAN CARING FOR HER YOUNGER BROTHERS AT 15

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At 15, she lost both her parents to Ebola and took on the responsibility of caring for her two younger brothers, just 12 and nine years old. In one year, her life has turned upside down. 

"I do petty trading to try and support both my brothers through school but it is very hard to raise the money for fees, books and uniforms. I want to be somebody, I want to finish school. I also really want my brothers to finish education and get well paid jobs. I get on very well with both my brothers, we look after each other”.

Mariatu and her brothers are now receiving support to access school, so they can have a brighter future. 

Volunteer in Kathmandu!

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‘I feel really fortunate to have contributed to this project throughout its various stages. Working alongside the local team and getting to know them in the process has been a huge bonus and definitely a highlight of my experience!’ Street Child International Volunteer Hannah spoke to adventure travel blogger Mapping Megan about her experience in Kathmandu. 

Read the interview.

Read about our volunteering opportunities.

Get in touch if you're interested in having a similar experience at volunteer@street-child.us.

New Junior High for Whitefield Community, Liberia

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Earlier this week our team in Liberia visited Whitefield Community near Mount Coffee. The community's Junior High School has been standing in disrepair for over 2 decades after it was damaged during Liberia's civil war. Currently, the nearest junior high is many miles away.

In collaboration with Dawnus Construction, we're building a three-classroom school in the area to give more children the chance to go to school and learn in a country which has the world's worst education indicators

Fina's story

Our team in Liberia has been out talking to girls who are back in school thanks to your support during our Girls Speak Out campaign. Fina Tama's grandmother is looking after 11 grandchildren. We gave her a business grant this year to support her small shop, and now Fina has just started at her local school, Massaquoi Junior High. It's the only high school in Westpoint slum, where Fina (pictured front) lives with her grandmother. 

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National Geographic writes about the Sierra Leone Marathon!

Sierra Leone Marathon winners. Image: Will Whitford

Sierra Leone Marathon winners. Image: Will Whitford

Sierra Leone: Run for their lives

Running the Sierra Leone Marathon, organised by international charity Street Child, is about much more than sheer endurance — it also helps to raise funds for children across the country

By Sue Watt. Published on 26th September 2017

“We don’t want to scare you, but you need to know that you can die from dehydration.” This is the chief medic’s ominous warning before we head to the start line. “It’s tough, hot and humid out there, so be responsible: drink and drink and drink…”

At 7.20am, the temperature is around 90F, the air feels close and clammy, and I’ve drunk so much water it’s sloshing around in my tummy as I run. The Sierra Leone Marathon takes in the mandatory 26 miles and a bit around the northern market town of Makeni, through sleepy rural villages and up steep forested hills on bumpy terracotta-colored tracks: it’s not for the fainthearted. So instead, I’m running the six-mile race around Makeni’s lively streets... read more.