Sierra Leone

When Street Child’s work began in Sierra Leone in 2008, it was the poorest nation in the world and had been devastated by a decade of civil war.

Children were suffering from the war’s legacy of poverty and destruction. Thousands of the poorest children were trying to survive on the streets.

Our work in Sierra Leone began with a small handful of street children, connecting them to families and supporting them to go to school.

We quickly expanded our work to include all children who were unable to access education because of poverty, a lack of schools, losing their parents or simply being a girl.

In 2014 the Ebola virus epidemic threw Sierra Leone into crisis again. Thousands of children were orphaned and families torn apart.

Street Child led the Ebola orphan response, helping over 12,000 children impacted by the epidemic and we continue to support children who are still struggling.

Today we work to give the country’s poorest children better futures through education, helping to lift whole communities out of poverty.


What We Do


By providing a combination of psycho-social support, quality education and family business support, we give children the chance to live in a secure home with a family and to access the education they need for a brighter future.

Whether we’re supporting children orphaned by a crisis like Ebola, or helping girls to go to school, we focus on really understanding the problem and delivering long-term solutions.

We help some of the hardest to reach and most vulnerable groups in Sierra Leone - street children, children in rural communities, children in poverty, girls and children impacted by crisis.

In 2011, we set up Street Child Commercial in Sierra Leone to help create employment opportunities and raise awareness of our work. Our series of cafes and restaurants in Sierra Leone also help to bring in a a sustainable source of funds. 

Empowering Families


When we began our work in Sierra Leone, it was the world's poorest country.

We work to provide business training and support to families living in poverty. With business training, planning, grants, loans and incentivised savings schemes, families, parents are able to set up businesses so they can afford the costs of feeding, clothing and educating their children. 

We have supported over 12,000 families to setup business helping over 22,000 children to go to school.

Educating Children

Training Teachers


The training and certification of teachers can transform the lives of the teachers and their communities as well as the children’s learning outcomes in schools. 

Our teaching specialists provide on-going classroom training, mentoring and supervision for more than 690 teachers across Sierra Leone. 

During the Ebola epidemic, we trained more than 1,200 Ebola Educators, who educated communities on how to contain the spread of the disease, helping save thousands of lives.

Protecting Children


In rural communities where there is no school, we work in partnership with willing rural communities to build ‘first ever schools’ and train teachers. We also support struggling rural schools with teaching and learning materials and essential school repairs. Since 2008 we have built over 124 schools and renovated a further 152. We have also supported over 290 schools with learning materials and sustainability grants. 

We promote the importance of education within communities and support them to meet school expenses like teacher salaries by providing agricultural grants and technical support to develop collective rice farms and seed-lending schemes.

Street Child is a trusted partner of the Sierra Leone Ministry of Education, and we work in close collaboration with UNICEF and other partners to contribute to the national schools initiatives. We have been a key partner in the government-led classroom and school latrine construction programme to reduce overcrowding and improve sanitation in school. 


We work to protect children facing challenging circumstances.

We work with orphaned children and  children living on the streets to find a caregiver within their extended family who can look after them. Once in a safe family environment, they are ready to return to school. 

We also focus on the child's development and well-being, empowering them to thrive at school with the help of a trusted adult.  We work hard to advocate one-on-one and with key stakeholders for children's rights.

Street Child is a key partner of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, and works in close partnership with local community groups such as Child Welfare Committees to help them identify, refer and protect particularly vulnerable categories of children.

Stories From Our Work


Marie - The mother selling charcoal to send her daughter to school

"I'm so thankful for the opportunity to send Fatima to school."

Fatima is in Grade 6. Street Child gave her mother Marie a micro grant to start a business selling charcoal from her home. With the profits, Marie can send her daughter to school.



Adama - The social worker changing lives

People are so keen for the children to study but they don’t have the means.”

Adama Glenna has worked as a Business Officer with Street Child for four years. Her team distributes and monitors micro business grants to caregivers. Adama lives in one of the communities in which she works with her husband and two children. “It helps for people to know me, trust me and open up to me.”  

One of her neighbours received a grant to setup a business selling Africannah soup, in order to fund her daughter’s schooling. “Now her voice is the first thing you hear in the morning!”

Our Research


The 2016 Street Child National Consultation on Adolescent Girls' Education in Sierra Leone

Our staff interviewed 2,000 in and out-of-school girls across Sierra Leone to better understand the barriers to girls' education.

Download the report

Street Child: National Headcount of Street Children in Sierra Leone

Street Child staff conducted the first ever headcount of street children across Sierra Leone. 

Download the report

The 2015 Street Child Ebola Orphan Report

The Street Child Ebola Orphan Report, the first of its kind to be produced, uncovers the true scale and nature of the Ebola orphan crisis.

Download the report.