Stories from change-makers in Sierra Leone
The only problem was that Jeneba didn’t have a radio.
When Plan International began working in her community, the majority of families there couldn’t afford to buy radios for their daughters. The households that already had radios were using them for other purposes — girls weren’t allowed to use them.
Plan was able to provide 25,000 radios to girls in the area. And Jeneba was one of the first to receive one.
“When I finally got the radio, I held onto it and whispered to myself that I will not miss out again,” Jeneba says. “It feels like the teacher is right in front of us.”
Plan has also provided the girls with lessons and leaflets on how to use the radios. Jeneba is planning to teach her younger brother how to use the radio, too.
“My radio is now my best friend,” Jeneba says. “It always keeps me occupied.”
Mary never thought it would happen to her. Until one day, visitors starting coming to her house with gifts — she knew she was about to be cut.
She ran four hours away to her grandmother’s house, because she knew her grandmother works with Plan to raise awareness about the harmful effects of FGM.
Since Mary’s parents had already accepted the gifts from the ceremony, they were determined to find Mary and continue with the ceremony. And eventually, they discovered where she was hiding.
But when they brought Mary home, a mediation team from Plan visited them to discuss the consequences of FGM — Mary’s grandmother had asked Plan for help. And because of Plan’s intervention, Mary’s parents agreed to cancel the FGM ceremony and support her education.
Mary is now hopeful for her future and wants to make something of her life.
“She is always top in her class,” Mary’s grandmother says. “I am so glad she will get to live her dreams.”
Her father helped her join a child advocacy network, where Sewanatu learned that children — including girls — have the right to be protected.
With support from Plan, Sewanatu mobilized her friends at school to help her advocate against child marriage, teenage pregnancy, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other protection issues. She hasn’t stopped campaigning since.
And she intends to become a doctor, so that she can help survivors of sexual violence.
“I want to help girls to believe in themselves and to see that there are a lot of opportunities out there for them,” Sewanatu says. “I want them to know that they are smart, they are strong, they are intelligent and they are capable of doing anything that boys can do. I want them to believe in themselves and to keep learning.”
Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Sierra Leone since 1976.
My name is Mbalu. I am 12 years of age. I am from Sierra Leone. I have been a sponsored child for a good 10 years. [to her uncle] “Good morning, Uncle.” This is my family. This is my home. “Goodbye to all of you.” My parents are petty traders. This is where my mother sells. [to her friends] “Let’s go to school.” This is my class and my teacher. I like school; my favorite subject is agricultural science. [in class] “When the farmer grows crops to sustain his family.” Plan International supports me in my education and supplies school material. They have also built a water well at my school. These are my friends. My friend is 15 years old, and she is married. Her mother has given her to marriage because of poverty. She has dropped out of school. [on screen] (Over 200,000 children do not have access to education and the school drop-out rate is high, especially for girls.) We are here to receive our books and materials from Girls Education Challenge. [on screen] (Girls Education Challenge provides education materials, to help girls stay in school.) [program leader] “Girls, girls!” [girls respond] “We are leaders of today.” [program leader] “You are leaders of today.” This is our community radio. I am in that child advocacy program. We talk on the radio about teenage pregnancy, early marriage, and its causes. I want to become a lawyer when I grow up. I want to defend my family and my community. this is where I write my letters. I like writing letters to my sponsor. I am happy to be a sponsored child. Bye!
Our work in Sierra Leone
Office & operations
Plan Sierra Leone’s country office is located in Freetown, with program unit offices in Port Loko and Moyamba.
Protection, gender equality, advocacy, humanitarian response
Number of sponsored children
As of June 2020, people like you sponsor 13,391 children in Sierra Leone.
Gender equality is a fight we must all take on together. Through sponsorship, you can change lives and create long-term impact in communities.
The full circle of Fate
When you sponsor a child through Plan, you form an incredible friendship.
But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to:
Send them birthday gifts and cards.
Give them special holiday presents called Little Treasures.
Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.
— Visit them (pending any travel restrictions), with individual travel assistance from us.
Each gift offering is safely hand-delivered by us, and given to your child with personalized cards from you. It’s likely that the child you sponsor will have never seen anything like these gifts, and with the exception of Little Treasures they’re available year-round to make the bond between you and your sponsored child even stronger.Meet a child to sponsor