Sierra Leone, a lush tropical country on the west coast of Africa that boasts beautiful beaches, picturesque mountains, and some of the richest natural resources and mineral deposits (including diamonds) in the world, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It consistently ranks as one of the least developed countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. It also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world (children dying before reaching age five).
Coupled with this overwhelming poverty, from 1991–2001, Sierra Leone was embroiled in a devastating civil war in which tens of thousands of people were killed and an estimated one million people were forced from their homes and villages—many raped, tortured, and/or drafted into rebel forces. The war destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and has left its lasting scars, most notably on the children—leaving 320,000 children orphaned.
Most people in Sierra Leone live in rural farming communities. A typical family dwelling in a village is a mud-walled home with a dirt floor and a thatched roof. Cooking is done by outdoor fire. Laundry, washing, and bathing are done in the nearest river or with water hauled from the closest water source. A typical family’s diet consists of rice, cassava root, and leafy greens.
Why We Serve in Sierra Leone
- Since most families can barely grow enough food to feed themselves, let alone produce a surplus to sell and generate an income, malnutrition is rampant, especially among the children.
- Access to healthcare is severely limited. Every day, children and adults die from non-life-threatening diseases or treatable/preventable conditions that have turned fatal.
- Education also faces two major hurdles in most Sierra Leonean communities: it is not readily accessible and it is not fully valued, especially for girls.
Children of the Nations' Involvement
Sierra Leone is where COTN's story began. It was here, on a mission trip in 1995, that COTN Founders Chris and Debbie Clark felt called to care for the needs of children orphaned by war and disease. Soon, hundreds of people like you had joined them in this calling, helping to build a Children's Home for orphans, establish schools and feeding centers, and so much more.
Today, COTN serves hundreds of Sierra Leonean children and families through Village Partnerships and Children’s Homes. Your support has helped establish a daily presence in several communities, providing schools, medical clinics, feeding centers, health initiatives, Christian discipleship, a University/Vocational Program, clean water, sustainable development, and more.
Through the generous support of partners like you, COTN is empowering Sierra Leoneans to raise their children well. In partnership with the people of Sierra Leone, COTN’s vision is to develop a generation of leaders and secure for Sierra Leone a future and a hope.
Banta Ministry Center:
- Mallory Jansen Memorial School (preschool through high school)
- Banta Medical Clinic
- William E. Clark Skills Center
- Church of the Nations
- Health Animators Program
- Administrative Offices
- 50-acre agricultural project
- Housing for COTN-SL country director and some staff
- Accommodations for visiting Venture participants
- Children’s Homes
- Ngolala, a 10-minute walk through the jungle from our Banta Ministry Center (est. 2006)
- Mokpangumba, a short canoe ride and hour-long walk through swamp, farmland, and jungle from our Banta Ministry Center (est. 2007)
Consisting of 10 houses near Ngolala, the Sierra Leone Children’s Homes are in the same area as our school facilities, medical clinic, and administrative offices. Each home is staffed with a house mother and aunties, who provide safe, nurturing care for the children.
Freetown (Marjay Town):
- Mallory Jansen Memorial School (primary school)
- Interim Care Center (for children orphaned by Ebola)
Sponsor a child in Sierra Leone today!