News

News from Sierra Leone – moving back to normality after Ebola

Sierra Leone MapOn 7th November, Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free by the World Health Organisation. This means that 42 days have now passed with no new cases reported in Sierra Leone. This follows a tragic period of nearly 4,000 deaths as a result of the lethal virus.

The end of Ebola is fantastic news, and our special thanks goes to our partner, Street Child, who took a leading role in supporting thousands of communities – including ELoH’s beneficiaries – during the emergency period.

Sierra Leone is home to our biggest project. Together with Street Child we have been supporting 147 children in four locations across the country since mid-2012. Read more about our project to provide prosthetic legs, access to surgery and education here. As with all communities across Sierra Leone, our beneficiaries faced a grave threat to their health and safety during the height of the Ebola crisis. As a result, ELoH provided an emergency donation of £9,817 in September 2014 to ensure all was being done to keep them and their families safe.

Education

We are very proud to report that out of the 147 children we support, all 147 are currently in school. Before our project began, less than 10% were in full time education.

Schools then closed during the Ebola outbreak and it was a significant achievement that our social workers were able to re-engage all our beneficiaries and help them return to school after the outbreak ended. Education is key to ensuring that our beneficiaries grow up to be self-sufficient members of society – helping lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Business support

We also provide beneficiaries’ families with small business grants and business training to help them set up their own businesses. The aim of this scheme is to enable parents to pay their children’s school fees in the long run, while ELoH focuses on providing support for their medical care until each child stops growing.

We are delighted that all family businesses are continuing to trade despite the devastating effects that Ebola had on Sierra Leone’s economy. Some businesses have had significant success and have been able to save high levels of profit which will be re-invested and used for educational costs.

However, the environment remains challenging and businesses of Ebola survivors were often negatively affected by stigma in the community during the outbreak. Our team continues to work with them and their communities to help them get back on track.

Medical support

Technicians in the prosthetics workshop in Freetown in May 2014 before Ebola.
Technicians in the prosthetics workshop in Freetown in May 2014 before Ebola.

A key element of our project is the provision of medical care, with the aim of helping child amputees to walk and become mobile again.

Sadly, but understandably, this has been the part of the project most severely affected by the Ebola outbreak. Sierra Leone’s already weak health infrastructure was hit hard by Ebola with many health workers and doctors losing their lives trying to save others.

We have been working hard to re-commence the fitting of prosthetic legs for our beneficiaries who need new limbs, which had to stop during the Ebola outbreak because of a shortage of prosthetists and equipment and a widespread fear of visiting hospitals in the population.

Despite the difficult circumstances, we have been able, through Street Child, to provide crutches for our beneficiaries to ensure they have a degree of mobility until we can ensure the safe and proper provision of prosthetic limbs.

We have also provided nine beneficiaries with life-saving surgeries. Bone protrusions, in which the residual bone grows through the end of the stump, are common and very dangerous complications many growing child amputees face. They can result in fatal infections if they are not treated.

On top of the nine surgeries, we are in the process of carrying out a further eight surgeries. These are life-saving interventions and we are very proud of the team’s success in providing these surgeries in the current climate.

Now that Sierra Leone has been declared Ebola-free, Street Child is working very hard to restart our prosthetic fitting programme imminently. We are monitoring progress closely and look forward to updating you again soon.

We would like to thank all our supporters for their commitment to our charity in this difficult time. The world faced an unprecedented health emergency when the Ebola outbreak hit West Africa last year, and we are counting on you to help us continue our vital work as Sierra Leone returns to normality.

Carol Service

St Margaret's Westminster AbbeyRing in the festive season and join us for a very special event!

On Wednesday, 2nd December, at 6pm, Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope is hosting a Carol Service at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey. St Margaret’s is right in the heart of Westminster, opposite the Houses of Parliament. The Carol Service will end at 7pm.

Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope supports child amputees in less developed countries and provides them with prosthetic limbs, life-saving surgery and access to education.

This Carol Service will be a time to raise awareness of our work, an opportunity to thank our supporters – and celebrate the beginning of Advent.

The evening will feature a selection of Christmas Carols performed by the choir of St Margaret’s, a very special solo, and Readings by Joanna Lumley, Sir Nicholas Soames MP, Lance Corporal Pienaar (3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment), Tom Dannatt from our partner charity Street Child, and a Senior Government Minister.

We would love to see as many of our supporters and friends as possible, and welcome many new faces. It will be a wonderful occasion to get into the spirit of Christmas, to hear beautiful carols, and meet people with a shared passion for our charity. So please, do join us and bring your friends and family!

Sarah Hope, co-founder of Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope, says: “We are absolutely delighted to be hosting this fabulous Carol Service in such a special location. The Christmas season is a fitting time to think of those less fortunate than ourselves. Without our help, these children face a life of isolation and loneliness, often deemed unworthy of an education. With your help, Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope will be able to give child amputees life-saving surgery, limbs and rehabilitation, to put smiles on their faces, and enable them to not just walk, but to dance, run and jump – just like Pollyanna. Therefore, any money raised during this Carol Service will make a huge difference to the children we help.”

Tickets are free, but our work is only possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters – wonderful people like you!

Any money raised through donations will go directly towards our crucial work to support child amputees in Sierra Leone, Liberia and India. Please email tickets@elizabethslegacyofhope.org to let us know how many tickets you would like and we will email them to you. If you are booking tickets for larger groups and would like to ensure that you can sit together, please let us know.

Each donation will make a real difference for the children we support. For as little as £70 an amputee child can get a prosthetic leg and the chance to walk again. It’s an amazing gift that is truly life changing.

We are immensely grateful for the generous support of our sponsor PLMR – Political Lobbying and Media Relations.

PLMR is an award-winning communications agency that has supported ELoH since its launch and works with a range of charities and companies in the UK and beyond to help them to ensure their voice is heard. Thank you very much!

We look forward to celebrating with you on the 2nd of December!

Water Lilies’ Charity Ball raises £2,500 for ELoH

Victoria with the Water Lilies Swimming School team. Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography
Victoria with the Water Lilies Swimming School team. Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography

On the 24 October, Water Lilies Swimming School hosted a wonderful Charity Ball that raised an incredible £5,000 for Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope and veteran charity Walking with the Wounded.

The black tie event was sold out and ELoH co-founder Victoria Bacon gave a beautiful speech about ELoH and the many children we support. Over 100 guests raised a significant amount of money throughout the evening and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, dancing the night away with live band Scratch the Cat.

Teresa Griffin, Chair of the Charity Ball Committee and the owner of Water Lilies Swimming School, was thrilled. She said:

“We received such an incredible amount of support and generosity from local businesses as well as from our fantastic community of families and friends at the swimming school. It has been heart-warming, and lots of fun too. Speaking with Victoria and Duncan [Walking with the Wounded] we know that every penny of the money raised will help to positively change the lives of many amputee children in India, Liberia and Sierra Leone and wounded service men and women in the UK. Together we’re helping individuals back on their pathway to independence”.

Indeed, with the money raised, we can provide prosthetic limbs and pay the school fees for 22 child amputees – that is, 22 children who will be able to walk, go to school and build bright and active lives. Thank you Teresa, Hannah and everyone else who made this wonderful charity ball possible!

 

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Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography
Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography

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Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography
Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography

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Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography
Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography

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Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography
Photography ©Tracy Keating / Mrs. H Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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