Sierra Leone Marathon 2014

Why Sierra Leone?

The Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon is raising money to get children in Sierra Leone off the street and into school. But why Sierra Leone, you might well ask (and possibly: where is it?)


Sierra Leone is a beautiful West African country roughly the size of Wales, and ten years ago, its children hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The use of child soldiers was a hallmark of a civil war which brought the country to its knees - displacing thousands of families and orphaning many children.


But today, Sierra Leone is a country transformed. Peaceful, welcoming, and blessed with incredible natural resources (including some of the best beaches in the world), both of Sierra Leone's neighbours are now stable, where once wars crossed borders into - and out of - the country.


For me, working to raise money for Street Child of Sierra Leone is not only the chance to do something that has immediate impact on individual lives, but that also contributes to a trend of positive change for West Africa.


There are few countries whose future depends on the fate of its children more than Sierra Leone. According to the latest UN figures, half of the population are under 18. It is still one of the poorest countries in the world, and the children who live on its streets are just the tip of the iceberg - less than half of Sierra Leone's population can read.


Street Child of Sierra Leone is aiming to raise £1 million to get 500 girls and 500 boys off Sierra Leone's streets, and 5000 children into school in our Jubilee Appeal, of which the Marathon is the final and biggest event.


But it's not all about numbers and trends. Take the story of Abas Sankoh, an orphan whose disability made him a target for abuse. It's a terrible story - but now Abas is no longer living on the streets. He is enrolled in our programme for street children, and has gone back to school. In his words, "Now I am living a normal life".


That's why we picked the slogan 'Run For Their Lives'. Children in Sierra Leone shouldn't live on the street and go without education. By running the Kiln Sierra Leone Marathon and raising money for Street Child of Sierra Leone, we are doing something to change that. We invite you to join us in whatever way you can.


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