The Suzanna Foundation is a non profit local charity organisation based in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The foundation was founded in February 2022 and we are operational since June 2022. We support vulnerable children in familial situations to give them better chances in life. The organisation is monitored from Belgium and we only work with local coordinators that we can fully trust. We provide a fair income to our local coordinators and we value transparency in their daily work. We have a weekly contact with them and try to visit the project and the children at least once a year.
Belgium based founders
Habib, Yentl and Tina
Program coordinator in Sierra Leone
Administrative in Sierra Leone
With the Suzanna Foundation we want to support vulnerable children and their family. We believe every child has the right to go to school, eat a meal every day and have access to urgent medical treatment if needed. As most important for the kids is the love of family, friends and their loved ones, we are facilitating that children can grow up within their birth or foster families with better chances in live. Orphans are often taken care of by family, friends or neighbors . That's why we also want to encourage foster families who live in poor conditions .
Why Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is a beautiful country on the southwest coast of Africa. Ranked on place 181 of 189 countries in 2019 Human Development Index, poverty levels are high. With an average of 70% of the 6 million Sierra Leonean people living below the international poverty line ($1,9/day), it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Depending of the definition of the poverty line 43% ($1/day) to 93% ($5/day) of the people live in poverty.
Since 2002, the 11-year during civil war (1991-2002) came to an end and left over 50 000 deaths and many people with mutilations (often parents and grandparents). The country is still working on his recovery as the war destroyed the national infrastructure and basic social services. An outbreak of Ebola in 2015 had a major impact on the economy and claimed the lives of 4000 people.
According to the June 2020 Emergency Food Security Monitoring System report, chronic malnutrition is widespread, with 31,3% (above the WHO "high" threshold of 30%). The Covid-19 pandemic has increased food prices due to market disruptions caused by supply chain restrictions.
Despite the efforts of the government to rebuild the country, this challinging circumstances caused still many children live in poverty with limited chances in live.That's why we think there is an urgent need to support the generations of tomorrow in this developing country.
Another reason why we founded the Suzanna Foundation in Sierra Leone, is because two of the founders, Habib and his wife Tina, speak the native language, which make it easier to communicate with the local coordinators and the children.
(source: unicef, WFP, index mundi)
Education in Sierra Leone
The government of Sierra Leone has launched a Free Quality School Education (FQSE) initiative in 2018 that provides free admission and classes to all children in government-approved schools.
Since this initiative more children have access to education but still 1/5 of the children age 6 -12 years are out of school. They are at risk of dropping out of this initiative as parents are unable to pay the direct and indirect costs of education such as school books, school uniform, transportation, meals & the loss of income.
Due to the factors listed above, many children fail to complete primary school (6-12y) or make the transition from primary to secondaire school (>12y). According to Unicef the rates of completion are 62% for primary school (6-12y), 44% for lower secondary (12-15y) and only 22% for upper secondary (15-18y)
Providing an education for children in vulnerable familial situations, will help improve their outlook in life with a more stable future and lesser chances for them to getting involved in criminal activities such theft, drug trafficking or other dangerous crimes.
Our daily activity
Hawa, our local coordinator, is taking care of the rollout and follow-up of the program. She is in close contact with the children and their families. She goes to look herself in the most poor neighbourhoods of Free Town for children that are begging or living in poor circumstances and need our help. After an interview with the children and the partents, they can be pre-registered. The moment we can welcome extra children in the program, she visits the children and completes the registration together with the parents. We have 3 major cornerstones of our activities: eduction, food and general support. Duba is our administrative and she is in charge of a good administration and communication within the organisation.
We enroll the children in school and help the parents or foster families with the registration proces as they are often illiterate. We provide school books and school uniforms for the children registered in our program. The children we support start in pre-primary (3-6y) or primary school (+6y) on a daily base. We are in contact with the school to make sure the children are present on a regular base. We also pay for their school meals and eventually other indirect costs for education. We opted for second hand uniforms, because we want to support a circulair economy and re-use goods that are still in good condition. It also helps the community as people can sell their second hand uniforms for a fair price when their children have grown out.
Most children of the slums provide a daily income for the family by begging or selling goods. While they attempt school they cannot provide an income. To compensate this loss of income, we offer a weekly food pick-up of some basics to the family (rice, sugar, flour, herbs, oil, ....). We also pay school meals for the children registered in our program. As our focus is on the children and their education, we hope with this extra food support for the family, the drop-out rate in school will be lower and that the children will be able to complete at least lower secondary (15y) . We will encourage them to complete upper secondary (18y).
Our local coordinator is the contact person for the vulnerable families that we support with our program. She has a monthly contact moment with the family of the children, to create a relationship of trust. In specific circumstances when a child or a child of the family we support, need urgent medical treatment but can't afford it, they can also discuss this with the coordinator and we will see if and where we can help.
We focus our support on children in vulnerable familial situations from age 3 to 8 years, who have parents with disabilities or live in 1-parent families or big foster families with low to no income. 10 children from 8 families are registered in the program now (4 girls and 6 boys, including twins). Habib and Hawa looked themself for the children in the streets of cotton tree, a poor neighborhood in Freetown. Very hard to make choices as many children are begging and want to go to school or need support but we try to include the most vulnerable families first. The children that we could not include yet, are pre-registered and on the waiting list to join our program from the moment we have the funds to expand.
Hoop kidswear is an important contributor to guarantee the funds of the Suzanna Foundation. But to be able to continue our activities and to enlarge the number of children we support, we need the help of independent regular sponsors and free gifts. Next to the cost of at least 30€ a month per child, we have some fixed cost such as a fair salary for our coordinators, transaction costs, the rent of a small office/storage place, cost of material and work devices.
Do you want to make a donation ?
You can make a single or monthly donation to the Suzanna Foundation on or Sierra Leonean bankaccount very soon. There is a $5 international transaction cost. We are happy with every gift small or big. For the moment we cannot yet give fiscal attestations as we are a small African based non-profit organisation. We will register a Belgian VZW the next months to avoid the transaction costs for gifts. Do you want to have more information or do you want to become a regular sponsor? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org