HI works in Sierra Leone to ensure access to education for all, including children with disabilities. The association also works to improve the quality of life and mental health of people suffering from psychosocial distress or living with a mental health disorder.
Children from Sierra Leone having fun | © Federico Saracini / HI
Actions in process
In 1996, HI launched its first activities in the country with the opening of a rehabilitation centre in Bo. Since then, HI has been instrumental in building the foundation of rehabilitation work, promoting the agenda of inclusive education, protection and mental health in Sierra Leone through various projects.
HI is working with communities and local partners to implement community-based response strategies and prevention in mental health and psychosocial support. The goal is to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of people suffering from psychosocial distress or living with mental health disorders.
The association is also working on inclusive education projects, to improve access to school for children with disabilities and promote awareness raising actions in the community. HI is also leading actions to prevent and respond to gender-based violence issues and empower women and girls, including those with disabilities.
Situation of the country
Sierra Leone was ravaged by a civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2002 and in the spring of 2014, was severely affected by an Ebola epidemic. Today, a high percentage of its population is living in poverty.
Almost two-thirds of the population in Sierra Leone is multi-dimensionally poor and people in rural areas are more at-risk of living in poverty. The outbreak of COVID-19 has exacerbated state fragility by reducing economic activities and widening political divides due to rising unemployment, commodity prices and food insecurity. Today, 4.7 million people are food insecure in Sierra Leone.
The adult literacy rate in Sierra Leone in 2018 was reported at 43.21%. Progress has been made with access to education over the past decade but certain groups, including children with disabilities, remain mostly excluded. Persons with disabilities in Sierra Leone experience physical, social, economic and cultural barriers that refuse them access to education, skills development and employment.