Sierra Leone

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Sierra Leone is where Children of the Nations was born. A lush, tropical country on the west coast of Africa, Sierra Leone boasts beautiful beaches, picturesque mountains, and some of the richest mineral deposits in the world. Ironically, it is also one of the poorest countries in the world, and ranks among the highest for infant mortality (children dying before age 5). Malaria and HIV/AIDS are widespread and malnutrition—especially among the children—is rampant. Coupled with these hardships, from 1991 to 2001 Sierra Leone endured a devastating rebel war in which tens of thousands of people were killed and an estimated two million were forced from their homes and villages. The war destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and left its indelible scars, most notably on the youth, leaving more than 300,000 children still orphaned today.

Population: 5,743,725 (2014 est.)

Life Expectancy: 57 years

Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 182 deaths per 1,000 live births

People Living with HIV/AIDS: 58,000

Orphaned Children: 370,000

Secondary School Attendance: Boys—40%, Girls—33%

Population Living on Less Than $1.25 Per Day: 52%

Sources: UNICEF, The World Factbook (2014)