Project 3580 was founded in 2008 after I visited the country with 2 colleagues. The aim has always been to improve the education and life chances of the displaced people in Kissitown refugee camp, just outside Waterloo. Here, some of the world's poorest live in a daily fight for life against many seemingly insurmountable odds: malaria, Ebola, water-borne diseases, malnutrition, poor medical facilities.
The number 3580 is very significant and shocking in equal measure. The figure is the number of children under 10 who died on the camp in 2009, the vast majority due to malaria and associated complications.
The Project, albeit on a small-scale, endeavours to improve the education and life chances of the residents wherever, however we can.
Thus far we have raised in excess of £140 000 and this has achieved many goals:
It has built a computer room library and science lab on the Peninsula Secondary School in Waterloo complete with a generator and 8o computers. This has led to UNICEF providing solar panels and a satellite dish in order to receive educational programmes from South Africa
It has bought 4000 mosquito nets, which has reduced malaria deaths in under 5's by 60%: from 3580 to under 1000 last year.
It has funded the sending of 3 containers thus far laden with 120 tonnes of educational, medical and other resources including bikes, sewing machines and furniture for the school. A 4th will go this year.
It has refurbished and rebuilt the primary school and boosted school role from 135 to just under 1100 students today. A fifth block will be opened this Easter.
It has rebuilt the church - central to the community
It has built 2 new toilet blocks to reduce the incidence of typhus fever
It has built an adventure playground for the students - the only one in Sierra Leone
It is currently being used to build a brand new building of 3 new classrooms - finished during our visit this year in April
It has provided power and equipment for the camp clinic, as well as medicines and medical equipment.
We are now in the early stages of building a secondary school as well.
We have our own fishing boat and net to enable the locals to catch fish - a vital source of protein
I hope this fills you in on the 'story so far'. If you would like further details or to get involved please contact me, Neil Morland, via the links on the website