Dear Friends of Sierra Leone Adolescent Girls Network,
This Fall, new challenges and exciting new developments have engaged our rapidly growing program of support through the Salone Adolescent Girls Network of girl clubs.
Focus on Recovery & Building Resilience
The lasting damage of Ebola on the lives of families, new orphans, and especially on adolescent girls is ever present and has thrust the Salone network into high gear. The network now has 240 active girl clubs extending to most parts of the country. The clubs give adolescent girls a mechanism for collaboration, mutual support, and serve a convening function for both formal and informal education.
In the midst of providing urgent assistance to adolescent girls and their families as a result of the Ebola epidemic, another crisis arrived in September: Record-breaking torrential rains caused enormous devastation due to flooding in Freetown. Many families were forced out of their homes and have been on the move or have landed in two massive sports stadiums for shelter. They have had no other place to go in the face of this devastation, but now, they must move again as the stadiums must be vacated to make way for political events. Families are being re-settled in a region prone to flooding.
The Ebola epidemic that devastated Sierra Leone for over one year has officially ended, but the possibility of recurrence remains since the Ebola virus can remain in semen for at least three, and up to six months. Scare resources during crisis often leads to the exploitation of women and girls, to meet basic needs such as food and transportation, which raises particular concern for the most marginalized girls.
In response to the flooding, the Friends of Sierra Leone Adolescent Girls Network has undertaken important action steps to assist by making our first grant to two on-the-ground partners, Child Welfare Society, Sierra Leone and Matei Multipurpose Cooperative Society (MATCOPS). These two locally-based organizations help build strong platforms for adolescent girls and protect their well-being, including provision of basic amenities – food, shelter, health – as well as lifelong learning and economic empowerment. As a result of this grant, eight girl groups are being established rapidly to create anchors and safe spaces amidst uncertainty during the re-settlement process. Activities and assets as part of this grant include:
- provision of 30 solar lanterns to these newly founded clubs that enable girls to read, utilize, share educational materials, and provide light for safety and security. There are an additional 90 solar lanterns waiting for distribution which were purchased with your original donations.
- organization of weekly meetings for girl groups, to share information, and prepare for relocation out of the stadiums. Each meeting is led by a female mentor.
- distribution of packages of school materials, uniforms, and other educational tools. MATCOPS provides materials on sexual practice, teenage pregnancy, early marriage, and gender-based violence.
How you can help
To carry on and do more to help the adolescent girls and their families in hardest hit areas of Sierra Leone, the Friends of the Sierra Leone Adolescent Girls Network urgently need your continued help. Your support can help us carry out crucial initiatives in support of vulnerable girls in Sierra Leone, and help us build sustainable networks for the future by backing the investment of critical technologies and girl clubs.
Your contribution will enable us to undertake the following specific activities:
- $25 will provide a solar lantern
- $50 will provide a technology package of one solar lantern and one solar radio
- $100 will provide a mentor for a club for two months
- $500 will provide starter package for a new club to cover the first 6 months of expenses
- Other amount: the above amounts are only suggestions. Donations can be made in any amount and can be given on behalf of friends or family member.
As we all consider our end-of-year donations, we hope you can assist us in our efforts to support the girls of Sierra Leone. Our shared vision is to create safe space for girls to learn today, and to encourage economic interaction to support their future dreams.
Your donation will be 100% tax-deductible. The Friends of Sierra Leone Adolescent Girls Network is tax-exempt 501(c)(3) and a registered non-profit in the US. Information on giving through website or by check is provided below. We are deeply grateful for your previous support, and count on further support as our program urgently expands now and into the future.
With deep appreciation,
The Board of the Friends of Sierra Leone Adolescent Girls Network