HI works in Sierra Leonne to ensure access to education for all, including children with disabilities. The association is also able to respond in the case of emergency as was the case during the 2014 Ebola epidemic. HI arranged the transportation of patients to screening and treatment centres and worked to ensure that awareness raising messages reached the most vulnerable groups of people.
© Federico Saracini / HI
Actions in process
HI has been working in Sierra Leone since 1996. Our first projects were launched to support the victims of one of the most brutal wars in Africa’s recent history, which left thousands of child soldiers traumatised and around 20,000 people maimed as a result of attacks.
When the Ebola epidemic hit Sierra Leone in 2014, HI opted to increase its presence in the country, so that it could continue to provide its expertise in emergency humanitarian operations and protection of the most vulnerable.
Until the end of the epidemic, in march 2016, the organisation managed a fleet of ambulances covering the entire Freetown region (the country’s capital). After Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free, HI supported the survivors through specific rehabilitation care to alleviate their chronic pains.
Since then, HI has resumed its activities in the area of inclusive education, currently running four projects that work towards ensuring access to education for all, with a focus on children with disabilities and children affected by the ebola epidemic.
Situation of the country
The rapid spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone triggered a humanitarian crisis on a massive scale.
During the spring of 2014, Sierra Leone was one of the countries most badly affected by the Ebola epidemic. The virus infected more than 14,000 people in Sierra Leone, of whom around 4,000 have died (source: World Health Organisation). The country was declared Ebola-free in the spring of 2016.
In Sierra Leone, around 37% of children are working. This demonstrates the weaknesses of the educational and economic system in the country due to the lack of infrastructures and the level of poverty. Violence against women is also a significant problem, which increased during the Ebola outbreak .
The country signed and ratified the CRPD in 2010 and elaborated with the support of HI a National document for persons with disabilities: “The Persons with Disability Act” in 2011. This act is poorly implemented .
Disabled persons organizations (DPOs) face many challenges. Funding, coordination and leadership are weak, and women’s group and some forms of impairment (e.g. autism) are still not really represented.