Weʼve raised £455 to Send Gemma to Sierra Leone and Liberia to support education projects!
- Funded on Saturday, 20th January 2018
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I want to make a difference, and I need your help to do so. I am joining Street Child as a volunteer in Liberia and Sierra Leone. My work will focus on research into improving children’s education. I need to raise the funds for my upcoming trip, so that I don't cost the charity anything by working for them.
Having completed my MA dissertation on gender in Sierra Leone, I am now going there to continue research into improving education for children, especially girls. While writing my dissertation, every person I spoke to in Sierra Leone said that they saw education as crucial for giving children choices (e.g. on genital cutting) and avoiding child marriage. There are loads of reasons why children in Sierra Leone do not go to school or finish their education, but girls are disproportionately affected. For example, teen pregnancy rates there are extremely high and currently pregnant girls are not allowed to go to school in many areas of the country, meaning that they are disadvantaged from the off.
Sierra Leone also has large numbers of orphans who support themselves through school. The war orphans and child soldiers have grown up, but now there are Ebola and mudslide orphans. Many kids also loose their mothers to one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world - 1360 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births compared to 9 in the UK and 4 in Sweden. All of these traumas that Sierra Leone's people go through are caused or exacerbated by the history of colonialism and now globalisation that everyone in the developed world continually benefits from. It's our duty to support our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone (and elsewhere of course) to stop depending on the West and expensive loans by working together to make society fairer and education projects impactful and sustainable.
Having said all that, Sierra Leone has a lot going for it - it is a stunningly beautiful and welcoming country, that has absolutely loads to teach the rest of the world. For example, Christians and Muslims respect each other and each others' religions, and live in harmony together there, often intermarrying. Part of addressing inequality is not labelling people as victims but working together to work out what we're doing well and how we could do things better and use these to create social change everywhere.
I will start my trip in next door Liberia*, where Street Child have recently begun working, to conduct exploratory research into where projects are needed and what kind of projects would fit, and to help set up the monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of the projects. I have not been to Liberia before.
I'll then move up to Sierra Leone to help with evaluation of existing education projects, to identify positive outcomes, needs or problems, and I may be needed to support families affected by the mudslide.
Please support me to make a difference on all our behalves? This type of giving means you will know precisely how your donation has been used, and I will update social media and this page with my progress once I start work. It will also support my new career path, because volunteering will lead to paid work, so that I can continue making a difference without begging for donations in future.
The more I raise, the longer I will be able to stay in West Africa, meaning the bigger the impact I can make.
Thank you in advance for your generosity, it really means a lot! x
* N.B. I was previously unable to go to Liberia as the elections were taking place, but as I had to delay my trip to raise funds the elections passed problem-free, so I am able to go there after all.
Photo credit: Plan International, 'Before Their Time - Challenges to Implementing the Prohibition Against Child Marriage in Sierra Leone'.
- 2 years ago
Gemma Driver2 years ago
Dearest supporters, thanks to you, I am able to start arranging my trip and am planning to leave at the beginning of February! :-) I'm going to Liberia first (elections prevented me going before, but in the time I've taken to save money these have passed), where Street Child have been setting up new projects, before heading up to Sierra Leone to research the existing work being done there... x
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Oct 12, 2017
Oct 10, 2017
2 sales on my Etsy shop! :)
Oct 2, 2017
Hope you reach your target, Gemma x
Sep 23, 2017
We absolutely need to support work like this. Well done Gemma xxx
Sep 19, 2017
Hope you reach your target Gem,Barbara and Andy
Sep 19, 2017
Sep 16, 2017
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About the fundraiser
Just completed an MA in Gender and International Development, on the road to a career in making a difference. I realised that writing about food and wine for the privileged is not rewarding and actually contributes to the global systems that cause inequality. Time to help fix it.