Facts About Sierra Leone

"Sometimes, I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it."

"Well, why don't you ask Him?"

"Because, I am afraid He would ask me the same question."

-Anonymous

 

Sierra Leone is a tiny country on the west coast of Africa, comparable in size to South Carolina. It is a land of beautiful sandy beaches, rich rainforests, and fertile land which supports the farming of peanuts ("groundnut"), rice, coffee, and cocoa. Their most abundant resource, however, is diamonds ~ the cause of the country's long history of conflict.


During the 1700's, there was a thriving business of slave trade in the United States, and the people of Sierra Leone were quite valuable because of their rice farming skills. Britain gained credit for returning thousands of slaves, then acquired and ruled Sierra Leone from 1792 through 1961. After a relatively peaceful period during the early 20th century, Sierra Leone became an independent commonwealth of Britain.

  • 1971 - Sierra Leone becomes a republic, breaking all colonial ties with Britain

 

Civil War begins:

  • 1991 - Civil war begins in the south, spreading from neighboring Liberia
  • 1999 - Civil war has devastated all areas of the country, including the capital of Freetown.
  • 2001 - Civil war is officially declared ended and the struggle for a new peace begins.

Aftermath:

  • Approximately 75,000 people died during the war.  250,000 were displaced, and some 10,000 suffered amputation by machete and bullets.
  • In September 2007, Sierra Leone held its first democratic elections and President Ernest Koroma was elected peacefully.

What now?

  • Sierra Leone's 10 year civil war has left them struggling to survive.
  • Currently listed as one of the poorest countries on earth
  • 21% of the world's amputees live in Sierra Leone a country the size of South Carolina.
  • Most people live on less then 2$ per day.
  • One out of five children die before the age of 5.
  • The average life span 47.3 years.
  • The literacy rate of only 38.1% (attending school is a privledge!)
  • During the war, rebels ate most of the farm animals or the animals ran from the bullets. Fish and ground nuts (peanuts) are now the primary source of protein.
  • Countless homes, businesses, farms, and tools were burned and looted.  Virtually no area of the country was left untouched by the rebels.
  • Many hospitals, schools and government buildings had to be rebuilt after the war.  Medical care is difficult to find for most people. 

The Future?

  • A beautiful country with resilient people looking for a chance, looking for a change.

Together we can change lives, "One Goal at a Time"!