Our Just Giving page (https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thefreetownsocietyfloodingfund) has reached its final day (14/9.17). The online donations have reached an incredible £7390! The support Freetown has received from its twinned city of Hull has been staggering. Combining both online and offline fundraising, you have helped us raise over £14,000! The donations have ranged and we are extremely thankful for all contributions. Special thanks must be given to Hull Minster and Canon Barnes for their tireless support along with other churches in Hull. This figure far exceeds our original target and has allowed us to access so many ways to help those people in Freetown who had their lives devastated by the recent flooding and mud slide.
We have divided this figure in to two. 50% of the total is to aid in the immediate relief effort in Freetown. The other half is to support longer term projects that will benefit Freetown in the future and hopefully equip the city and its people with the resources and knowledge to help prevent a disaster having such a devastating impact in the future.
In the days immediately following the mud slide and flooding, we sent over Money Grams to colleagues in Freetown. They were working on the front line of the relief effort and had identified those communities who were most at need of our assistance. The British Government and international bodies have shown fantastic support to Freetown and pledged aid and support in the millions of pounds, but we can see a real impact coming from our fundraising as we have been able to send directly to those affected. They had lost everything. We provided the funds for Conforti Organisation to purchase toiletries, food, bedding and cooking equipment for hundreds of families. Francis Mason, head of Conforti, identified 100 mothers with children under 5 who would benefit greatly from our help. We helped ensure they had the daily essentials to get by in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.
Unfortunately, diabetes is rather common in Freetown. The diet does not help this either. We have worked with Salome Hydes who runs a diabetes awareness charity in Freetown to support those affected by the floods who also have diabetes. We have sent funds to help ensure they are able to receive their medication as well as access correct food types. Many have been made homeless by the flooding and so we support our colleague Rita and her school in Freetown which transformed into a temporary shelter to house families following the floods.
Many schools in Hull belong to the International Pupil Council and are twinned with partner schools in Freetown. Children in Freetown returned to school this week. Many will have lost all of their exercise books, uniforms and modes of transport to their schools. Some have lost parents and homes. This week we have sent a large donation to Conforti who will distribute it accordingly. The purpose of this contribution is to ensure that children at affected schools – some of which are partnered with schools in Hull and have already been helping their communities – have the exercise books and uniforms that are essential for the school life. It is testament to the determination of the people of Freetown that they will all want to be at school this week and onwards into the term. We want to make sure their education can continue.
We also aim to help educate people of all ages in Freetown about the environmental impact their way of life is having on the safety of their future. Our colleague Barmmy Boy has produced a musical video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6is2jSzEEE) highlighting the impact of deforestation. It is a sophisticated and accessible way to engage with younger generations and send the vital message about looking after the Freetown environment. Barmmy has filmed children at St Mary Queen of Martyrs Primary School in Hull singing the verses of the song. He will film their partner school, Empowering Children School, in Freetown and produce a child led video that can be shown at schools and on national television in Sierra Leone. We will also be funding 5 radio dramas that Barmmy will create. This is part of our longer term aim to educate and help in the future. These radio shows will spread the messages about the impact of plastic waste management, garbage collection, deforestation, building for the future and the need for environmental laws.
We know that with our proactive colleagues in Freetown and the continued generosity from the people of Hull and its City Council, we will help Freetown recover from the flooding and also help prepare and educate the people so that they can find out how an ounce of prevention is most definitely worth a pound of cure.