Background to the situation in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is the poorest country in the world as measured by the UN.

 
     

A country ravaged by a brutal civil war in the 1990’s. The war was funded by diamonds.
The so-called 'Blood Diamonds'.

 
     

The capital. Freetown, has historical links with the famous Abolishionist William Wilberforce of Hull, and has since become the twin town of Hull.

 
     
 

During the war, children became both the abused and the abusers.

     
 

Boys were abducted, drugged and forced to become child soldiers - they were called SBU’s (Small Boy Units).

     
 

Girls were sexually abused and forced into prostitution. It is estimated that 50,000 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of families were torn apart by these modern day acts of slavery.

     
 

Sierra Leone emerged from a decade of civil war in 2002, with the help of Britain, the former colonial power, and a large UN peacekeeping mission.

The country is now going through the challenge of reconstruction.

     
 

Reuniting the families separated by the war is continuing. There are just a handful of aid agencies who are doing this work. HANCI (Help A Need Child International), The St. George Foundation and AMNet (The Advocacy Movement Network) are examples.

     

Their vital work is hindered by the punishing road conditions of a country with few resources to repair or make new roads.

 
     

On average it takes 7 journeys across difficult terrain to re-unite just one family. Robust transport is vital to continue this work. The aid agencies find it difficult to maintain, let alone replace, their small fleet of vehicles.

 
     

The Hull Freedom Trail wants to meet this need by donating at least five 4x4 vehicles to these agencies to continue and expand their work.