Sierra Leone, or Salone as it is affectionately known, is a small West African country about half the size of England. It has a population of approximately 6 million.
The infrastructure of the country was destroyed by the civil war (Searching For Diamonds) which finished in 2002. Much of Sierra Leone still does not have running water and electricity.
As a result of the war most government buildings were destroyed by the rebels. This included many hospitals and medical facilities.
The country is working hard to recover but still remains one of the poorest in the world with the following health statistics:-
- 1 in 4 children will die before their 5th birthday
- Average life expectancy for a man is 48 and for a woman is 50
- A woman has a 1 in 8 chance of dying when pregnant or in child birth
- There are only about 70 doctors for the whole country (Population 6million)
Madina is a small town in the north of Sierra Leone close to the Guinea border. Veronica first visited here in 2008 whilst she was undertaking voluntary work in a government hospital in a neighbouring area.
During this first visit, she came across the Xaverian Missionaries. There are just over 800 Xaverian Missionaries world wide and about 30 of them are in various parts of Sierra Leone. They are a wonderful and loving family.
As well as fulfilling their pastoral duties, they are dedicating their lives to serve the local communities in many other ways. This includes building and running schools, funding children through their education, building water wells, training people for employment, and much more.
In some areas, such as the Madina area, the missionaries have also introduced some basic medical facilities that were lacking. One of the missionaries in Madina is a nurse with a Diploma in Tropical Medicine. It was he who inspired Veronica and Rohit to become involved in helping with the various medical projects.
It was always the aim of the Xaverians to hand over their duties to Sierra Leone Priests. This happened in 2013 and so now Help Madina is working with local Priests to help fulfill the needs of this community.
With the increasing number of projects it soon became apparent that additional support and involvement was needed from local people. With this in mind, the local town councillors are now also helping with our community projects.