This June 2012, nine of the ELOH team visited Sierra Leone to launch our new project with Street Child of Sierra Leone (SCoSL) and meet as many of our new beneficiaries as possible.
The official launch event took place on 7th June at the centre of one of our on-the-ground partners’ in Freetown, Action for the Rights of Children (ARC). Over 60 beneficiaries, family and staff members gathered to welcome us, with beautiful songs, presentations and deeply moving stories about the lives of some of the children we are helping.
ELOH co-founder Sarah Hope and chair of trustees Rebecca Newsom also talked to our new beneficiaries and partners about ELOH’s inspiration and our long-term vision for the project. Sarah Hope said: “It was such an inspiring opportunity to meet some of the wonderful people we are supporting, learn about their individual stories, and explain a bit more about ELOH’s ethos. We are determined to do all we can to give as many amputee children better life chances and the support they truly deserve.”
The ELOH team also met key members of the project team on the ground, and saw first hand some of the facilities at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Freetown, where many of our beneficiaries’ new prosthetic limbs will be made and fitted.
On the 8th June, the team also visited one of the amputee camps in Makeni (Sierra Leone’s second largest city), where we identified six more child amputees to become new beneficiaries of the project. The majority of these six children are tragic victims of Sierra Leone’s recent bloody civil war.
Later during her extended trip, chair of trustees Rebecca Newsom had the privilege of getting to know four of the six new Makeni beneficiaries better – learning more about their personal stories and their individual priority needs, which ELOH is helping to address. For all of them, their greatest focus was on being provided with new prosthetic limbs (in every case, for the first time in their lives), so they can walk, run, play and participate at school just like their peers.
During her three week placement, Rebecca also used the opportunity to develop and consolidate ELOH’s relationships with our project team on the ground in Sierra Leone – crucial for the long-term success of our project in order to help as many amputees as possible. Rebecca said: “Over the last few weeks of working closely with members of our project team on the ground, I have learnt so much from their immense experience, deep commitment to the cause, and clear understanding of the issues facing our vulnerable beneficiaries. We are very proud of ELOH’s new partnership with SCoSL and ARC – one which we anticipate to grow as time goes on.”