International Aid Trust has had a presence in Sierra Leone since 2009 following a visit by Bishop Bernard Cocker the CEO and Founder. The headquarters of the organisation are situated in the town of Lungi. The work of International Aid Trust in Sierra Leone mainly revolves around evangelism, charity, predominantly free education and basic healthcare for the most deprived and underprivileged children and women in Lungi. Our Country Director is Reverend Michael Fofanah who leads a full-time staff of 21 members. These include: teachers, pastors and support staff. The wife of the Country Director is the Head teacher of International Aid Trust’s New Hope School. International Aid Trust continues to be a spiritual, moral, social and financial blessing to many deprived and desperately poor communities in Lungi and Sierra Leone at large.
EVANGELIZATION – NEW HOPE CHURCH
International Aid Trust’s New Hope Church continues to be a spiritual blessing to many communities in Lungi. Every year, new converts mostly from the Muslim faith are baptised and some marriages and union blessed, this is adding to the member of Christians which keep rising steadily. The work of the Lord is evident in their lives as we witness growing testimonies and transformations after receiving and accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.
New Hope Church organises weekly visitations to members of the church families, supporting and praying for the sick in hospitals, spending time with poor families, orphans and physically challenged. These activities are strengthening the spiritual, moral, psychosocial life of vulnerable families and individuals.
EDUCATION – NEW HOPE SCHOOL
International Aid Trust Sierra Leone is doing the best we can to provide a predominantly free primary school education for 480 children in Lungi.
New Hope School of International Aid Trust Sierra Leone started as a thatched structure with fifteen school children in 2009. But it was on the verge of failing as an education and feeding project when it was saved by God working through International Aid Trust UK. After serious mismanagement issues were uncovered the current Country Director (Rev. Michael Fofanah) was appointed to work alongside his wife who was already employed as the school’s head mistress. The number of children has risen from an initial fourteen to the present 480 pupils who receive predominantly free primary education at the school. International Aid Trust has built a modern one story build that stand tall in the entire District of Port Loko as a sign of Christ’s love for the poor. The children of International Aid Trust New Hope School are very blessed; it is the only school that provides free school meals and free first aid medical care. The children of New Hope school have been outstanding in their ethical and academic performance.
The Clinic is a great blessing from our donors to International Aid Trust New Hope School. It is the only school that has a clinic in the entire District. It is a tremendous blessing not only for New Hope School but for the immediate community around the school as it is already complementing the efforts of the government of Sierra Leone in reducing the maternal and infant mortality rates in the country. The clinic caters for the immediate medical needs of the kids of New Hope school, the staff and members of our church congregation.
The organisation has deemed it fit to bring in the services of a midwife who gives advice and check-ups to pregnant women and lactating mothers in the community. International Aid Trust Sierra Leone has created the bridge or the gap between these pregnant women and nursing mothers since they are most times fearful of going to the hospital because of the cost, stigma and misconceptions they get from traditional birth attendants about receiving medical care from the hospital. The midwife educates pregnant women and lactating mothers about the dangers of giving birth at home and why they should always come to the clinic/hospital to seek medical attention. Common among the dangers are: retained placenta, convulsionS during child birth, development of high blood pressure, uncontrolled fevers, etc. The retained midwife of International Aid Trust Sierra Leone follows up on them after delivery to make sure that they follow necessary hygiene procedures, take all vaccines and gives them confidence in their roles as mothers. She also educates and counsels them on efficient childcare. Many lives have been saved through the International Aid Trust Midwifery Clinic.
International Aid Trust Sierra Leone continues to be a blessing to the children of New Hope School since 2009. The school feeding program has become an integral part of the diet of many children, especially the ones from the poorest homes and orphans who have increased in number as a result of the deadly Ebola virus disease that took the country by storm in 2014. As a matter of fact, it is the only proper meal for most of the children and it serves as a motivation for their continuous school attendance.
However, strong challenges are currently being faced by International Aid Trust Sierra Leone as a result of the sharp increase in food prices in the country.
FAMILY SPONSORSHIP PROGRAMME
International Aid Trust Sierra Leone, through its “Christian Compassion for a Hurting World”, provides spiritual, psycho social and monetary support to poor families and orphans in the Lungi communities via its Family Sponsorship Program. The Ministry/organisation continues to reach out to people most in need in our communities, expand the kingdom of God and win more souls for Christ. The Sponsorship Program is funded by compassionate Christians in the UK through International Aid Trust. These Christians have made the selfless commitment of providing monthly sums of money to impoverished, the physically challenged, amputees and orphans, and to those at the very bottom of the economic table in our communities. Today International Aid Trust Family Sponsorship program supports the Midwife and 24 poor families and orphans.
WATER WELL & SAFE DRINKING WATER PROJECT
International Aid Trust Sierra Leone set off to bring access to safe drinking water for over 100 families through the provision of 10 manually-dug wells in Lungi by the end of 2019. A lot of the villages International Aid Trust targeted never had a source of safe drinking water. However, due to financial constraints and the deadly Ebola scourge that followed in 2014, 3 water wells have been provided for these desperate communities.
The impacts of the water well project were enormous. More than 50 families already have access to safe drinking water. The reduction of waterborne illnesses was immediate in these families. Having seen all these positive impacts of the Water Well Project in the lives of these impoverished village communities, International Aid Trust Sierra Leone dearly wish to do more by expanding the scope of the project to reach more communities and families in Lungi, but we are constrained financially to carry out these projects.
RESCUE CHILDREN’S PROJECT
The International Aid Trust Rescued Children’s project to shelter orphans and vulnerable children is supported by International Aid Trust. A Water well that will support the homes has been dug and is blessing the community around it. The construction of the first of four homes started on the 2nd of June 2016, and we are trusting God for funding to complete it and start the other three buildings. The homes shall serve as a safe haven, for the orphan children orphaned by the deadly Ebola virus and also children from broken/poverty-stricken homes.
These vulnerable children face enormous challenges growing up without their parents. Some of the challenges like hunger, lack of shelter and clothing, lack of access to basic health care could prevent them from having a meaningful future and upbringing.
We are very grateful to God for His loving grace and through the financial support of our selfless donors.
DORCAS SEWING PROJECT
It has been proven in our rural setting that education and training are powerful tools against poverty and hunger, and especially for women’s empowerment in communities where women are marginalised and discriminated against.
Skilled/educated women are more likely to be healthier as a result of their ability to earn and plan their lives properly. Evidence in some rural communities have shown, that women who are empowered through formal education or skills are also more likely to ensure that their own children are educated, thus breaking the cycle of poverty, hunger and diseases. It is based on these findings that the International Aid Trust Sierra Leone envisaged the Dorcas Sewing Skills Training program to empower community women and open the doors of economic independence for them. International Aid Trust Sierra Leone has established two centers one at International Aid Trust New Hope Village and the second at Lokomasama a new out station explored by International Aid Trust. A total of 25 women have enrolled with two trainers. We are trusting God that the Dorcas project will continue to empower women in Lungi and Lokomasama. It is also our hope for resources for an expansion of the project to other communities in future.
Current International Aid Trust projects in Sierra Leone are as follows:
The Rescue Children’s Project, a home for orphans and street children is still under construction. When it shall finally be opened, it would accommodate a total number of 64 children. Estimated at £40,000 per building and we are working on a total number of 4 buildings. This amount takes the budget of erecting each building from foundation level to the final finishing.