On 2 February 2009, 8 Soroptimists from the entire SI world were scheduled to leave Heathrow for the SI Project SIerra Study Tour in Sierra Leone….but…sadly they were stranded in the snow for a few days. We are patiently waiting for stories, which will be posted the moment they arrive- here is [Sandra’s excerpt from the] “pre tour” story to whet your appetite:
“Some information about Sierra Leone: Population – 6,005,250. Land area – 71,620 sq.km (not sure how much that is in corresponding area in Australia) SL emerged from a decade of civil war in 2002 with the help of Britain and a large UN peacekeeping mission. More than 17,000 foregn troops disarmed tens of thousands of rebels and militia fighters.
A lasting feature of the war, which left some 50,000 dead, was the atrocities committed by the rebels, whose trademark was to hack off the hands of their victims. A UN-backed war crimes court has been set up to try those, from both sides, who were involved in the brutalities. The problems of poverty, tribal rivaly and official corruption that caused the war remain. There are 70,000 former combatants who have been disarmed and rehabilitated have swollen the ranks of the young people seeking employment.
SL has the lowest average income in the world and is the worst nation for childbirth in the world having the highest maternal mortality ratio, or risks of maternal death of any country. This is due to obstetric situations such as haemorrhage, obstructed labour, etc, caused by disruption to the health services by the rebellion. Official corruption is rife.
This is a very basic outline of the situation in Sierra Leone. Next time I will be able to tell you more about our partners Hope and Homes for Children and Helo a Needy Child International -HANCI and what we are trying to achieve with SI Project SIerra.“
Soroptimist International Quadrennial Project (2007-2011), Project SIerra: a Family and a Future, was launched at Convention in July 2007. The project supports women caring for children in extreme poverty and provides a caring secure family home for children who are alone or at risk of abandonment. The project location is Sierra Leone, West Africa. Our project partner is Hope and Homes for Children. Read more on the Project SIerra website [www.projectsierra.org] »