SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Sierra Leone).

Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leona. With a population of around 1.8 million it is also the largest city in the country. It is located on a peninsula at the Atlantic coast. Freetown was founded in 1787 as a home for former slaves who returned to Africa. In recent years the city’s inhabitants have had to experience a variety of hardships. From the Ebola outbreak in 2014, a devestating mudslide in 2017, to the COVID-19 pandemic, the population has had to face, and continues to face, many challenges.

Since 1974, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families, and advocating for their rights in Freetown.

Women die (per 100,000 live births) in Sierra Leone

Women die during childhood

Sierra Leone has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world. Sierra Leone had a maternal mortality rate of 1,120 per 100,000 live births. This means that a significant number of women die during or shortly after childbirth. This number shows the challenges faced by many women in Sierra Leone. Poor healthcare practices and sub-standard health care facilities in part account for the large number of deaths from childbirth. The lack of facilities and healthcare practitioners means that women are at increased risk of dying from obstetric hemorrhage, hypertension, obstructed labour and sepsis.

Of people living in cities in Sierra Leone live in slums

Informal settlements

Freetown has grown significantly in recent years and due to internal displacement during the years of the civil war, many people have settled into informal settlements. Nationally, around 60% of people living in cities in live in slums. Informal housing are characterized by the lack of durable and permanent housing that protects against extreme weather conditions, sufficient living space, easy access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. It is also a place where people suffer from many diseases because of the poor water and sanitation conditions. Diseases can spread easily either through contaminated water or the high population density.

Your support makes a difference for children in Freetown

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Children and young people
Attend our schools and training centres
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Brothers and sisters in our care often study together and help each other prepare for their next day at school (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Sierra Leone).

How your support helps in Freetown

Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.