contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

42-44 Bishopsgate, London,
EC2N 4AH
United Kingdom

020 7614 7696

Street Child is a UK charity, established in 2008, that aims to create educational opportunity for some of the most vulnerable children in West Africa.

News

For an update on our Girls Speak Out Appeal with dedicated news and stories from the field, click here.

 

Post-Ebola Liberia: A New Chapter for Education

Martin Forsyth

Hawa is going back to school this week. Her uniform is clean and her hair neatly braided. The excitement of the new term is felt far and wide as laughter, giggles and singing fills the school campus, when classes break for recess. “I’m so happy to be back in school and to see my friends,” she says with a big grin.

Just one year ago schools re-opened after being closed during the Ebola epidemic.

Since then, as Liberia’s recovery process continues, the challenge of getting students and teachers back into the classroom have been great. The increased numbers of teenage mothers, Ebola-orphans and street-connected children are just some examples of young boys and girls who are struggling to get an education as a result of the epidemic. Liberia recently topped UNICEF’s ranking of the 10 worst countries in the world for access to primary school, and it remains clear that many children will not be going back to school this week.

Hawa who is 13 years old lost both of her parents to Ebola and is now living with her auntie and 4 siblings. She explains how her aunt struggles to provide for the family and that many times she and her siblings go without eating for a whole day. “It’s hard to focus in class when I haven’t eaten anything,” she says. “My auntie often can’t afford to pay for all the extra costs of me going to school such as buying notebooks and pencils.”  

Yet access to education is only part of the problem; quality of education also has a huge impact. According to SIH 360, just 63% of 15 -24 years old boys are literate and even more shocking, just 37% of girls. Perhaps most overwhelming is that in 2013, all 25,000 applicants for the University of Liberia failed the entrance exam demonstrating the failures of the Liberian education system.

Street Child’s recent Liberian Consultation on Adolescent Girls Education (LCAGE) revealed that girls are particularly vulnerable in accessing and learning in school. Less than half of all girls interviewed in grade 4 could read and write and in fact grade 4 turned out to be the grade when most girls dropped out of school. This year Hawa is starting 4th grade and unfortunately the odds of her obtaining a quality education are not in her favor.    

However, Hawa’s school was recently selected as one of the 93 Partnership Schools for Liberia, which the Ministry of Education is running together with 8 partner organizations. Her school is now included in a network of 12 schools under FLAGSHIP ACADEMIES By Street Child. For Hawa, among other advantages, this means no extra fees, a provision of basic learning materials and more qualified teachers in the classroom every day.

In pursuit of improved teaching and learning in Liberian schools, the partnership between the Government and Street Child of Liberia, a local NGO, is taking an innovative approach to tackling some of the challenges of the education system.

Minister Werner, the Liberian Minister for Education explained: “For the first time in many years we have been able to add new teachers to these schools.”

More teachers per school are being recruited and trained to meet the needs of large classroom sizes, new ways of interpreting and utilizing the national curriculum are being introduced and more support and supervision for each school are some of the key changes being introduced.

During Ebola, Street Child of Liberia worked tirelessly alongside many other organizations and government branches to help educate people about the disease and to support vulnerable children who were impacted by the crisis. It also supported 2,200 people with the provision of relief packs and helped 1,500 Ebola-impacted children back to school once schools re-opened.

“There are many lessons to learn from the times of Ebola relating to the education system,” says Ahmed Dukuly, Head of Academic Development at FLAGSHIP ACADEMIES By Street Child. “Partnership, innovative approaches and quick responses to immediate challenges, were central during the Ebola response and should be key in Liberia’s recovery process and beyond. This applies to education as well!”

“Additionally there is more need for research and evidence, which is what Partnership Schools for Liberia is all about.” says Mr. Dukuly.  Not only are partners such as Street Child using research and evidence-based approaches to plan their interventions, but the entire program is part of a vigorous external evaluation. The hope is that such evidence can support the program to grow and help further innovation within the education sector.   

The model of FLAGSHIP ACADEMIES By Street Child is based on a low-cost, sustainable and creative approach to tackle educational challenges in both rural and urban settings alike. “If our mission is to provide better opportunities for Liberian children through education, we need to make sure that every dollar spent benefits the Liberian children both today and tomorrow. Innovative approaches do not have to be expensive, but rather it is about searching for local solutions and making sure things change now,” says Country Director John Kerkula Benda.
 

The challenges for education in the year to come are many for Hawa and all the other Liberian primary school children. Yet the determination of the Ministry of Education and the joint efforts of the Partnership Schools for Liberia program in the post-Ebola context, form part of a new exciting chapter in educating Liberia’s children today and tomorrow.  

Furthermore, Street Child’s recent ‘Girls Speak Out appeal will help 20,000 children like Hawa in Sierra Leone and Liberia to access a quality education, thanks to UK Aid Match funding from the Department of International Development which doubled all donations to the appeal.

- Felicia Dahlquist, Programme Manager

 

Girls Speak Out appeal

Martin Forsyth

Thank you to everyone who got involved and supported our Girls Speak Out appeal helping us to support 20,000 vulnerable children in Sierra Leone and Liberia to go to school and receive a quality education. 

Click here to see an overview of our Girls Speak Out appeal. 

Girls Speak Out Coverage Update

Martin Forsyth

As Street Child’s ‘Girls Speak Out’ appeal moves into its final phase, Street Child would like to thank all the outlets who have supported the appeal to date. Their coverage has helped Street Child ensure that we can make girls' voices as loud as they can be. Our Girls Speak Out appeal aims to help 20,000 vulnerable children go to school and receive a quality education and offers girls the opportunity to speak out for the first time on the barriers to education that they face. 

Click here to read coverage from our appeal.

‘ESKIMO’ BRAVES TROPICAL HEAT TO WIN 5th SIERRA LEONE MARATHON

Martin Forsyth

- Mustafa ‘Eskimo’ Kamara crowned 2016 Sierra Leone Marathon Champion

- More than 600 runners compete in the world’s most ‘worthwhile’* marathon

 29th May 2016: 118 British runners travelled to Sierra Leone this week to join over 500 Sierra Leonean competitors in the 5th edition of the Street Child Sierra Leone Marathon.

Laid out over four distances – 5k, 10k, half and full marathon – the runners weaved their way through the parched streets of Makeni in the north of the country. Braving hot and humid conditions, the surrounding communities were out in force to provide boisterous support for competitors from more than 15 countries worldwide, including those as far afield as Finland, Australia, China and Chile. 

Mustafa 'Eskimo' Kamara as he crosses the finish line as the winner of the 2016 Sierra Leone Marathon

Mustafa 'Eskimo' Kamara as he crosses the finish line as the winner of the 2016 Sierra Leone Marathon

But it was the Sierra Leonean nationals that swept the field, winning all four categories of both the male and female competitions. Mustafa ‘Eskimo’ Kamara, 21, was the first full marathon runner across the finish line to take this year’s title.

“This is my first time winning here at the Sierra Leone Marathon at this distance.” Kamara said. “I’ve only competed in one marathon event before in Nigeria so it feels good to be the winner. I felt comfortable across all of the course and I’m so glad to be here now as the champion.

'Eskimo' running the Sierra Leone Marathon

'Eskimo' running the Sierra Leone Marathon

“This event is for children in our country so that makes it special for us and for me as the winner: children that are in the streets, children that need help getting into school, children that have very little – knowing they will be supported by this event, I am glad to have taken on those 26 miles for that.”  

The first half-marathon runner to cross the line was Mohammed Bah Kamara, 18, from Waterloo.

 “It was Street Child that started this competition and I feel so happy to win the half marathon in my first year running this distance. Last year I competed in the 10k,” he said.

“I was feeling so happy during the race and there was no problem when I was running. I enjoyed it very much and I want to come back and defend next year. It is not easy to compete in events like this. I’m glad to have the chance because, really, it’s not easy as a runner here.”

This year’s marathon is supporting Street Child’s Girls Speak Out Appeal, for which all funds raised or donated will be doubled by the UK government to help ensure twice as many Sierra Leonean girls can stay in school and gain a quality education. Bearing in mind the fact that all runners were taking on this challenge to support girls’ education, the results of the female section of the event were more poignant than ever. 

The first female marathon runner across the line was Isatu Turay18, from Freetown.

“I’ve just finished so I’ll just say I feel okay!” said Turay not long after powering across the finish. “I did my first marathon here in 2015 and I came second. I’ve trained so hard for these conditions and I trained to win this year; and now I’ve done it.

“Since the marathon is helping support girls into school, girls that maybe don’t have a family or are struggling to go to school, to compete here and win is very special for me. Education is so important for girls in our country. If you are educated, people will be careful with you, they won’t be foolish with you. Girls need that help.” 

Fatima B Sesay, 18, from Freetown won the female half-marathon.

“I’ve been training so hard at long distance running and I felt very comfortable out there today,” said Sesay. “I’ve competed in the Sierra Leone Marathon four times, the first time in 2013 and it feels so good to be here this year as champion of the half marathon today. This event is a big one for us as we do not have much opportunity to compete.

“I am also happy to be running to support girls’ education in Sierra Leone. This is for their future and it is so important. Education for girls is very important because if we do not go to school we will really suffer.”

The first female to cross the line in the 10km race was Mariama K Conteh, 19, from Freetown.

“I feel so happy because I really wanted to win this year, my second time at the Sierra Leone Marathon,” said Conteh. “I’ve been training morning and evening for this event. It was very hard but I did all I could to complete the race in first place.

“This year the funds support girls’ education and that is very important for us as a country. So this race is great not just for the runners but also for the girls that will benefit. I hope next year everyone who is not here will come to join us.” 

Georgina Sesay, 16, from Freetown took first place in the female 5km.

“I feel very good to win the 5k because I have been training so hard for it,” said Sesay. “I felt good all the way round and I like competing in this event so much. This is my second time at the Sierra Leone Marathon so I’m so glad to come back and win.

“I’m also glad to know I have won my distance in this event where all the funds will support girls into school in my country. Education is very important because it represents success for us girls.”  

Street Child would like to say a massive thank you and a heartfelt congratulations to everyone that competed in this year's marathon. To those that have taken on this challenge and raised money to support the children, families and communities that you visited ahead of the race, we are incredibly grateful for all that you've done - and continue to do - to support our work. We look forward to seeing you soon... and to welcoming you back next year!

In Liberia, the Scars of Ebola Are Everywhere - But There Is Hope Among the Hardship

Martin Forsyth

 

It's one year since Liberia was first declared free of the Ebola virus. In Dolo's Town, one of the first places to be severely hit by Ebola, the news crews have gone home and people are trying to get used to a new normal.

For many, it's a way of life that they were not ready for. Tina Yarjay, 18, is looking after 11 children.

'I am a mother unprepared, because I have 11 children who I am currently caring for including my brothers and sisters. My parents home was incomplete prior to their death and now, it is rainy season and the rooms leak whist it rains. After my parents died, my siblings and I were neglected. Sometimes when we needed to buy food or other things our money was rejected.'

She tells us that NGOs are helping, but that their support can never take the place of her parents.

Hundreds of people died in Dolo's Town, a relatively small community built in the largest rubber plantation in the world. When the disease first hit, the community thought it was just a bad spell of food poisoning. They never imagined that it was a vicious disease that would rip their town, and their country, apart.

Esther Brown, 49, contracted Ebola but survived it. Her husband and 42 members of her family were not so fortunate:

'I lost all of my people to one illness. I lost 42 persons in my family. Business is giving me a hard time. I'm suffering. Sometimes I have no food and I'm always unwell. My major problems are food, school, shelter. Sometimes I have no shoes, and I'm caring for fourteen children. Our house is falling down but I have no money to fix it.'

Liberia is currently in the midst of an economic downturn caused by Ebola, and many of the struggles are reflected in Dolo's Town. As the rubber price falls, Firestone has begun to lay off workers, many of whom are not from the county and are leaving the area, meaning fewer customers for those running businesses. The price of sugar has almost doubled in the last six years.

The scars of Ebola are everywhere. But there is hope amongst the hardship.

The stigmatisation of anyone associated with the disease is now on the wane. People are starting to rebuild fractured lives, and the community is coming together once more.

Salomie Reeves, who lost her husband to the virus, says that time has played the most significant role in breaking down stigma:

"People mocked me. I cried, I was worried and stayed indoors. They said Ebola is in me too. People drove my children away. But time passes, they see my condition, I am not ill and they know Ebola is gone".

Naomi Wrehpue is an Ebola survivor. She contracted the virus after her husband spent time with his niece, who has the first victim in the town. 'The Ebola grabbed me. Since I came from the ETU [Ebola Treatment Unit], the pain has taken hold of my body. It gives me a hard time, but the community people take care of me. The only problem is I can't get well.'

Naomi used to run a frozen goods business, but ongoing illness forced her to stop. Since she received a business grant from Street Child, Naomi's new red oil business had quadrupled in size.

Street Child has given 78 business grants in Dolo's Town and typically sees an 85 percent success rate in helping people to generate incomes large enough to support their families. This kind of support has been vital in helping people impacted by Ebola to build a future, especially for those who now find themselves caring for large numbers of children.

During Ebola, Cynthia Dorbor moved back to her mother's house to care for her when she was sick. Sadly her mother did not survive and Cynthia lost five close family members to Ebola in total.

Today, she is looking after her sister's three children - all orphaned by the disease.

With support from Street Child, Cynthia has taken over her mother's table at the market, selling wheat, rice and sugar. Since she received a grant in February 2016, the business has doubled in size. It was was bring-ing in $3 a day but is now making enough to ensure that she can save up to $35 a week.

Ultimately, Cynthia's dream is to go back to school, and train to be a nurse. The business will eventually allow her to do that, but for now it will ensure that her nieces and nephews receive a full education.

For Street Child, and other local charities, the work that began during Ebola is as important today. Without support, people like Cynthia would struggle to provide enough food for the children they're supporting, or to pay school fees.

Too many children affected by Ebola are now struggling to survive, and it's girls that are most likely to suf-fer from abuse. Girls have been forced out of school and into child labour and prostitution.

Mothers like Cynthia need to earn a decent living to enable children, especially girls, to stay in school and away from the dangers of the streets. Educating Dolo's Town girls will give the mothers of the future a better chance, making the prospect of the community's long term recovery much better.

One year on from the end of Ebola, life in hot, dusty Dolo's Town is still fragile and hard. The legacy of this vicious disease will be felt for years to come. The pain and grief is still tangible, but there is a cautious optimism that, with the right investment and support, things are starting to look up.

This blog post originally appeared in the Huffington Post, click here to read

Street Child Nepal: One year on

Martin Forsyth

One year on from the Nepal earthquake which left 1 million children out of school and destroyed over 50,000 classrooms, Street Child is proud to reveal the progress of its work in the country’s worst affected communities.

The Nepal earthquake damaged schools, left thousands with life-altering disabilities and destroyed livelihoods. Street Child has been working hard to identify and protect the most vulnerable children.

In the remote community of Okhaldunga, Street Child has built 40 temporary learning centres and trained 20 teachers on how to prepare for, and respond to, future earthquakes. Street Child is committed to continuing our support by building more permanent and earthquake resilient schools to ensure children have safe places to continue their education.

For those children left with disabilities and amputations, Street Child are working to provide prosthetic limbs and improve access to rehabilitation and counselling as well as ensuring that schools are more accessible for disabled children.

The earthquake destroyed many livelihoods forcing families to take on seasonal and temporary work, such as bricklaying. The children of these families are often unable to attend school for a full academic year which in many cases leads to them dropping out for good. In response, Street Child is in the process of building schools at several brick factories to provide a bespoke education to the children of seasonal workers. We will be working with an educational expert to create a unique and condensed curriculum that facilitates the education of children on the move. The schools will house regular health check-ups to combat the risk of injury and poor health that the children are exposed to at the factories. We’re also in the advanced planning stages of building more than 150 permanent schools in four of the areas affected worst by the earthquake.

Street Child CEO, Tom Dannatt, commented: "After our effective response to the Ebola crisis, Street Child was asked to work with local partners in Nepal to assist in re-establishing education in the worst-affected communities. One year on I’m proud of the progress we have made having already helped thousands of children into education. There is much more to be done to create sustainable educational opportunities for children across Nepal in rural and urban areas but I’m confident Street Child will deliver."

For more information on our work in Nepal, click here.

STREET CHILD LAUNCHES ‘GIRLS SPEAK OUT’ APPEAL WITH GOVERNMENT PLEDGE TO DOUBLE ALL DONATIONS

Martin Forsyth

New Street Child appeal urges UK public to help give girls in West Africa the chance to fulfil their potential

Street Child launches its Girls Speak Out Appeal today, aimed at helping to ensure that girls gain their right to an education in Sierra Leone and Liberia; public support for the appeal has the chance to go twice as far thanks to a pledge by the UK government to double all donations to the appeal.

In October 2015 Street Child started a conversation with 2000 girls across Sierra Leone to find out why so many of them were not being given the chance to stay in school. Our Girls Speak Out Appeal has been created from those conversations to help ensure that girls’ voices are heard and that the issues they raise are tackled.

Read More

Street Child announces new celebrity Ambassador Tyger Drew Honey

Martin Forsyth

Outnumbered star Tyger Drew Honey has joined the Street Child family as our newest celebrity ambassador.

The actor will raise awareness of the charity's work and help promote funding initiatives to help those worst affected by the Ebola virus.

Tyger Drew Honey said: "I'm so excited to be working as ambassador for Street Child. I'm delighted to be able to help raise awareness of such an important charity, and help some of the most vulnerable children in the world. 

Read More

Street Child thanks Legacy of Ebola media partners

Martin Forsyth

As Street Child’s ‘Legacy of Ebola’ appeal moves into its final phase, Street Child would like to thank all the outlets who have supported the appeal to date. Their coverage has helped Street Child ensure that, even as the media spotlight fades on Ebola, the public has still been able to engage with the ongoing humanitarian crisis affecting thousands of children across the region.

The Evening Standard's support across our appeal has been instrumental in spreading the Legacy of Ebola message far and wide. Click here for a full round-up of coverage.

The Evening Standard's support across our appeal has been instrumental in spreading the Legacy of Ebola message far and wide. Click here for a full round-up of coverage.

15 year-old Street Child beneficiary Bintu Sannoh supplied her 5th report for the Observer, a look back at a year of Ebola in Sierra Leone. Read all Bintu's reports here.

15 year-old Street Child beneficiary Bintu Sannoh supplied her 5th report for the Observer, a look back at a year of Ebola in Sierra Leone. Read all Bintu's reports here.

Click on the logos below to catch up on selected coverage from across our appeal:

Read More

More than 20,000 children back in school since Ebola thanks to Street Child

Martin Forsyth

As Street Child continues its enormous effort to help children return to - and be able to stay in - school after Ebola, the charity confirmed that it has now given direct financial assistance to over 20,000 in Liberia and Sierra Leone this year. We plan to help thousands more children back into school at the start of the new term in January.

In Sierra Leone, Street Child has financially assisted 17,241 children back into primary school and 1,266 into secondary school. In Liberia we’ve supported 1,500 Ebola-affected children into school.

Read More

Ebola Don Don! A message from our CEO, Tom Dannatt

Martin Forsyth

It is with the greatest of relief that I write to share the long-awaited news, for those who have not heard it already, that today, Sierra Leone has hit the magic mark of 42 days with no new cases of Ebola and therefore officially joins Liberia in being declared . . . Ebola free!

Or to put matters in Krio: “Ebola don don!”

Of course Ebola has been coming progressively under control since early this year and the number of cases in recent months has been very low – but there is a world of difference between being ‘nearly Ebola free’ and actually ‘Ebola free’. It really is a day for celebration!
 
Read More

President of Sierra Leone graces superb Street Child Sierra Leone Marathon

Martin Forsyth

As first light broke on Makeni’s Wusum Hill this morning, around 600 runners lined up to participate in the first Sierra Leone Marathon to be held in the country since Ebola began last year. And it was none other than the President of Sierra Leone that wished those intrepid runners luck for this very special event. 

Spread across four distances – full marathon, half marathon, 5k and 10k – there were a total of 51 Brits in the field as well as representatives from nations around the world. But it was the Sierra Leonean runners that swept the field across all categories. The winner of the main event was Osman Challey with an impressive time of 2hrs 26mins.

Read More

AFTER EBOLA: STREET CHILD ANNOUNCES 2000+ GIRL CONSULTATION ON ADOLESCENT FEMALE EDUCATION IN SIERRA LEONE

Martin Forsyth

At an event to mark the UN Day of the Girl Child, Street Child of Sierra Leone’s Kelfa Kargbo Country Director, Kelfa Kargbo, announced a major Street Child consultation exercise on issues affecting the education of adolescent girls in Sierra Leone – pledging to meet with over 2000 girls in a nationwide process. 

In a moving address, which can be read in full here, Kelfa clearly articulated the issue,

How can it be right that when you look at the early classes of any primary school, you see roughly equal numbers of boys and girls, but by the time you look at a Senior Secondary School . . . you can frequently see boys outnumbering girls by 2:1 or more?

Read More

Street Child launches Legacy of Ebola Appeal

Martin Forsyth

Today marks the launch of our Legacy of Ebola Appeal, which aims to create a sustainable future for thousands of children affected by Ebola. 

In excess of 8,500 people have died of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia. At last, the virus seems to be on the wane. However, there is a parallel crisis raging across the region; one that is, sadly, far from over and yet has tragically faded from public view. 

In Sierra Leone and Liberia there have been around 20,000 children orphaned by Ebola. Many of these are still at risk of hunger, malnutrition and abuse. And there are thousands more children whose access to education is now critically at riskas a direct result of the disease.

Read More