By Amit Kapadia, Executive Director
I had the pleasure of visiting with our Sierra Leone team earlier this year. Of all the places our charity operates in, this is perhaps the most challenging environment to work in. Our beneficiaries are living in what I can only describe as “trash volcanoes”. The environment is filled with fire and smoke and toxic fumes from burning trash. To reach our beneficiaries, we have to climb down slopes into ravines inside the trash dump, or bohmehs as they refer to them in Sierra Leone. We have two project sites in the city of Freetown. One is at the Kissy Bomeh and the other at the King Tom Bomeh. Our site at Kissy is particularly hazardous.
Despite the inhospitable environments, our beneficiaries couldn’t be more hospitable. We received a royal welcome. They are so pleased that The Unforgotten is working in the bomehs; we are still the only charity there.
I’ve been on dozens of trips over the past decade and this one was particularly memorable. The old adage that those with the least to give are the most generous definitely applies here.
My hat’s off to Amina and Madina (our Country Directors) for putting together such a cohesive team in-country. They work really well together and with the community we serve.
Our program in Sierra Leone is a bit different than our other country programs. Here, The Unforgotten runs what we refer to as “bridge schools” right in the bomehs.
I’m very pleased to report that we have made quite a lot of progress in the two years we’ve been working in Freetown. Our girls are progressing quite nicely through the school systems. Our goals for the coming year include working with the mothers in the program by providing skills training and microloans, to put them on a path out of extreme poverty.
Our Country Director, Ms. Amina Alharazim will be visiting the country shortly, and we wish her safe travels!