Hope Shelter in Sierra Leone helps 106 girls and 108 babies

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.”

The HOPE project in Sierra Leone was established to help sexually abused minors and their babies find a way back to life. In a shelter (a kind of women’s shelter), social workers and medical staff take care of young women up to the age of 18 and their babies. They support the girls psychologically, but also in administrative procedures and empower them by informing them about their rights. But above all, they keep the girls safe and sound.

The medical staff assists with birth and postnatal care of newborns. If the circumstances are favorable, mother and child revert to a safe environment within their community as soon as possible. In the meantime, to foster the young mothers’ incorporation into vocational training or job occupation, social workers visit the Shelter weekly to provide guidance and support.

To make the HOPE shelter inviting and cozy, the facilities have been renovated, the rooms lovingly furnished and the interior walls were painted.

The project partner German Doctors has extended their field of activity to include the “my body my right” section in the fight against girls’ circumcision; all constituents are committed to acknowledging and more importantly, obeying children’s rights.

The staff has grown to around 50 people based in two locations, of which 20 are exclusively financed by One Day (eleven employees work in Makeni and nine in Bo); the remaining 30 salaries and other expenses are shared equally between ONE DAY and the German Doctors.

In 2022, 106 girls and 108 babies found a temporary home in the Hope shelter in Makeni. Two cesarian-sections were medically necessary. To the great sorrow of all, five babies passed away despite all efforts. “Numbers are only a small part of HOPE, the real part of our work simply cannot be expressed in numbers. It is only your heart that can see rightly” states Saskia Schmidt from ONE DAY e.V..