Sierra Leone is a West African country with 6.3 million people. It's bordered by Guinea and Liberia.
Following independence from Great Britain in 1961, years of ineffectual and sometimes corrupt government, compounded by foreign influences, eventually culminated in civil war in 1991. The war resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, displacement of more than 2 million people, and destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure before finally ending, with the intervention of UN Peacekeepers, in 2002.
The statistics that describe Sierra Leone's current situation are astonishing.
Sierra Leone ranks last in the world on the 2008 United Nations Human Development Index, with a life expectancy of 42 and a literacy rate of 35%.
15.5% of their babies die before reaching their first birthday.
And another 10% are lost before they turn five.
During our time there, it was common to talk to mothers who had buried half their children.
Though there's a lot needed in Sierra Leone, we believe one step that must be taken is to reach the youngest generation with education and empowerment so that they can help accelerate the progress of this recovering country.