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
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