The history of the Republic of Sierra Leone is truly remarkable. Located on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, it is one of the smallest countries in continental Africa, yet possesses the world’s third largest natural harbor and is rich in natural resources. As a former British colony from the early 19th century until 1961, Sierra Leone’s education system was recognized throughout Africa for its high quality. Fourah Bay College, located in the capital city of Freetown, was considered a literary and linguistic center of West Africa and was affectionately referred to as “the Athens of West Africa.” In 1991, Sierra Leone became engulfed in a devastating 11-year civil war that largely disrupted all levels of the education sector.
This war left many children and youth orphaned, mentally disturbed, psychologically traumatized, with amputated limbs, displaced and uneducated -- not counting the thousands that innocently lost their lives. This disastrous conflict left the educational system, particularly in the rural areas, in complete ruin. Many schools were razed to the ground; some have no roofs or furniture. In other words basic school amenities, such as pens, pencils, sharpeners, and notebooks, are not available or are very expensive to buy: teachers do not have the materials they need to teach. One can say education for many children in Sierra Leone is becoming a luxury they can’t afford, instead of a basic right that all enjoy.
Sierra Leone is amongst the top five underdeveloped countries in the world. Education for Hope believes through educational program development, cultural awareness, and civic education the lives of children in Sierra Leone can be lifted above the poverty line, thereby brightening the future by giving equal educational access to all.
More than three quarters of Sierra Leone’s population is illiterate, which is amongst the highest in the world. Education for Hope bridges this gap by rebuilding and rehabilitating dilapidated schools in the hope of developing educational programs and curriculums to address today’s challenges. Education for Hope provides primary schools the necessary tools to educate the children of Sierra Leone.
DEMOGRAPHIC and MACROECONOMIC INDICATORS (2012)
o Total Population: 5,895,000
o GDP Total: $3.7 billion
o GDP Per Capita: $324
o Agriculture: Rice, coffee, cacao, palm kernels; poultry; fish
o Industry: Mining; small-scale manufacturing; petroleum refining
o Exports: Diamonds, rutile, cacao, coffee
EDUCATION INDICATORS (2012)
o Total Government Spending on Education: 20%
o GDP Total: $3.7 billion
o Primary School-Age Population: 16%
o Primary Completion Rate: 74%
o Primary Repetition Rate: 15%
o Youth Literacy Rate (15 -24 years): 59%
o Official Language: English; over sixteen spoken languages nationwide