General information on Sierra Leone

During the country's 10-year civil war, thousands of children were used as combatants. In 2014, the Ebola epidemic brought even more hardships to one of Africa’s poorest countries. Against this background, SOS Children's Villages has played a vital role in helping the country's most vulnerable segments of population: children and young adults.

SOS Kindergarten - photo: C. Lesske
SOS Kindergarten in Freetown (photo: C. Lesske)

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country located in Western Africa. Since gaining independence from former colonial power Great Britiain in 1961, the country`s history has been rather turbulant. A cruel civil war that lasted from 1991 until early 2002 cost thousands of lives and resulted in the displacement of more than two million people - about one third of the country`s population. Although Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in Africa, its soil is home to ample resources. The country is extremely rish in diamonds, gold, cocoa, coffee and bauxite. 

Happy to be at school - photo: C. Lesske
During the Ebola epidemic, SOS Children’s Villages has given local families food and basic medical supplies  - photo: SOS archives

SOS Children's Villages has been supporting vulnerable children, young people and families in Sierra Leone since 1974.

Strengthen Families: We work with the local community to support families so that they can stay together. Every family has different needs but we offer access to health services and education, counselling and further training. Many of the families that we work with have been affected by HIV/AIDS and Ebola. 

Care in SOS families: For those children who cannot live with their families, SOS Children's Villages provides direct care in SOS families. Children grow up with their siblings and are cared for by an SOS parent.

Education: In order to make sure the children have access to quality education, we run kindergartens and schools in Sierra Leone. Around 3000 students benefit from our work here. 

Support for young people: We support young people until they are able to live independently. We support them while they continue their further education and also provide them with training.

Emergency Programme: During the civil war, we ensured that the children in our care stayed safe and provided emergency relief to those escaping the violence. Likewise, during the Ebola epidemic of 2014, we worked with other agencies to provide advice, food, protective equipment and disinfectants to the local communities. The focus of these activities was on the children who had lost parental care, or were at risk of losing it.