Although we had some periods of “lock down” in The Netherlands, we were able to visit Sierra Leone a few times. Even with the full team in December! Fortunately there haven’t been serious outbreaks of Covid in SL so far and it seems that the common issues like malaria, mother and child mortality still have a greater impact.
When we arrived after a pause of 1,5 years its was a pleasure to see that all projects were continued, more or less in a successful way. Of course this was due to efforts of our local team (James, Daniel, AKK). They report regularly, but it was good to see it with our own eyes.
- Also in this year we had a good cooperation with SECOM, even despite the long distance. During last year they managed to establish a serious Eye Unit and FAD was able to provide an operation microscope through MEDIC (medic.nl) The microscope was sent in a container and SECOM will pay for it in affordable terms; this is because FAD tries to support “self-sustainability”.
- With the help of donations by FAD Secom has been able to perform 200 cataract operations for people who could not afford to pay themselves.
In the waiting room for a cataract surgery.
- To the Eye Hospital in Freetown we sent a laser-microscope donated by the Leyden Teaching Hospital in The Netherlands. In the same container were some Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) for Frst Aid in cardiac arrest. During our visit we gave a training about these devices.
Berend teaching the use of AED, Wim on the floor as a “patient”…
- In the mean time Dr.Pieter Slager, ophthalmologist, returned to SL. He is highly involved in the establishment of an Eye Care Unit in Masanga Hospital. The Hospital is quite remote and setting up the program goes with ups and downs!
- In October 2021 Mr.Amadu Kamara started his final training year as a cataract surgeon in Banjul. We hope that he can work in the future in Masanga Hospital.
- In December Dr.Wim and Dr. Berend did a kind of audit to evaluate the medical performance of SECOM. The results were quite encouraging. At the occasion we were able to review a lot of patients operated in the past and…plenty new ones came!
- We tried to support Dr. Pieter Slager and the Management in Masanga as much as possible. Dr Wim assisted in the first operations. We hope that the Government will contribute by sending some experienced eye nurses.
- We delivered two typewriters to the Freetown School for the Blind. We got a demonstration by the Headmaster how blind persons can handle a typewriter perfectly. See the movie for an impression by the Headmaster Mr. Turay:
So in case you have a typewriter in your store: donate it to FAD!
Education, technical training:
We have visited the Technical Training School and we met the students of our first batch. All students passed their exams and all told us full enthusiasm that they got a job. Now they can care for themselves and even maintain a little family.
In September 2020 another batch of 8 youngsters started their training: plumbers, electricians, masons and construction designers. Now they all have passed the National Exams and on the picture you see the new graduates. They will do a three months apprenticeship and in April 2022 they can start their own business.
In September 2021 another group of 8 has been enrolled, they just started. Together with the Headmaster we discussed progress and procedures.
All 11 Ward Aids and Nurses in training have passed their exams. Some of them have got a job already. We visited some of them. Victoria got a job in the Police Hospital as a Ward Aid and is doing now a training as a police officer.
Another one is Lovette, who received a starters kit from FAD and is doing now home visiting. She is caring for home patients and in this way she has a living for herself.
We know Antonio for a long time and after finishing his training he is a volunteer at SECOM.
In the mean time we have selected 15 new candidates for further training as Ward Aids (before it was just a group of ten!) FAD will sponsor them. Actually they have been waiting for an opportunity for years. We introduce to you: Beatrice Kallon (25) from Newton; Aminata Conteh (23) from Yams Farm; Laruetta Bodkin (45) single mother of 4; Must Koroma (26) from Grafton; Isatu Veronica Kanu (22) from Mile 91; Duba Kargbo (23) from Kalaba; Aminata Jalloh (26) single mother of 2 from Waterloo; Rugiatu Abdulai, (26) from Newton; Rugiatu Macauley (26); Kadiatu Baker (26) from Waterloo; Hannah Ndomawah (22) from Newton; Janet Thoronka, (25) from Regent, Samuel Coker (27) from Rokel; Victor Morgan Koroma (23) from Mayain, Emmanuel K. Sesay (21) from Kamakontheke.
They all have their personal story, often poignant and sad with circumstances preventing them from further studies. But what they have in common: they are highly motivated!
The cassava has been growing steadily and now it is harvest time. The market prices are still a little unstable, but the first profits are coming.
In the middle of 2021 we were able to send a container, mainly with materials and instruments for eye care by SECOM and the Eye Hospital in Freetown. Besides that nearly half of the container was filled with rather new clothing, a donation by a firm for sports outfits. Our team will see to it that these clothes come into the hands of the people who are in need.
Most of the micro-credits we issued have been terminated; there is still one village left that receives a micro-credit and they reimburse correctly. Besides that we have provided one personal micro-credit to establish a local entertainment center. Here people can watch TV and see football matches and other sports. In times of hardship it is good to have a place where you can relax and meet friends!
We like to thank all well-wishers in the Netherlands or in Sierra Leone who contributed to our work in one way or the other. We say a big Thank Yiii!
We wish you all a Happy and Prosperous 2022.
Berend, Wim, Daniel, AKK, James, Bert en Beppie