A life changing two weeks in West Africa

On 2 March nine of us, predominately from south Leeds, arrived home from our expedition to Sierra Leone. It’s one of the poorest countries in the world and we had been working there in partnership with a fantastic education charity there called Transform Salone.

Whilst away we also had the opportunity to meet, work with and visit many inspiring people and projects: schools, homes for street kids, Home Salone, projects for kids with disabilities, the elderly and those wrestling with addiction and/or their mental health.

One young woman (15) said:

“I really enjoyed working with the children and old women and listening to people’s stories. They had such different lives, personalities and experiences.

“I loved learning about the differences in our lives and the similarities. We have running water and they don’t, we have free school and they don’t, we have electricity in a way that they don’t.

“They don’t have stuff like we do, but they are so kind, loving and grateful. They are amazing people to be around. It changed my perspective on life and how I think – it made me think more about my education and not taking the life and opportunities I have ahead of me for granted.”

A young man (16) refelected:

“Whilst in Sierra Leone we did many things, teaching kids, giving them the opportunity to have fun in the midst of huge challenges.

“I learnt a lot – I now think about school and I go – everyday. I most enjoyed spending time at the home for kids with disabilities. My most precious moment was spending time with a girl who lived on the floor because her spine was so twisted – it made me value so many things.

“I would really recommend this experience as it changes how you see the world in a way that you wouldn’t understand until you actually go and see with your own eyes.”

So far 42 teenagers, have come on expedition with us through our Phocus project, that combines locally based youth work in South Leeds with international expedition.

If you would like any more information about this project please watch our short video:

For more details, or if you are interested in helping us to enable other local Leeds young people to have this life changing opportunity, please email me at reestablish.info@gmail.com or visit our website: www.reestablish.org.uk


This post was written by Jo Sunderland

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