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Your Gift is Truly An Answer to a Prayer

Even today fewer opportunities and options are provided to girls/women in Sierra Leone.  While this is a global issue, the impact of this is crippling to the destinies of girls in Sierra Leone.  Imagine having to drop out of school so your brother can continue. Imagine not getting all the supplies that you need to be successful in school.  We could go on and on ...and on. You can also imagine the questions that run through the minds of the girls. You can also almost hear their silent cries for help and for a chance to further their education. Your generous support is a true answer to their prayer. Because of your giving, hundreds of girls are receiving the support that they need to advance their education.   You have most recently helped us provide scholarships to Agnes and Nchunmalen. Agnes is in class six or sixth grade and she is working hard to become a banker when she grows up. Nchunmalen is in class six and is working toward her goal of becoming a nurse. We are so excited to be part of helping them fulfill their dreams.  Your one-time gift and on-going support will help other girls like Agnes and Nchunmalen move towards reaching their full potential. Thank you for being an answer to their silent prayer and cry for help.This means much more to them than you would ever realize.  There are still many more girls that are not able to continue their schooling?  Will you be the answer to their cry for help today?    Donate now  
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Looking Back and Looking Ahead-at the Dream Home

As we look back over the past 12 months, we are so very thankful for your support. Because you care and you gave, we have touched and impacted thousands of lives together.  In 2017, we celebrated the 2nd anniversary of the opening of the Dream Home orphanage for Ebola orphans.  The children completed a year of schooling. You helped provide meals, send them to school, clothe them and keep them in good health. A water tank was installed. Geraldine, the oldest, received good high school graduation grades. And so much more... As we look back, we can't thank you enough for all YOU have helped us accomplish in 2017! As we look ahead, we are super excited about what the future holds for these amazing kids. They are gifted and full of potential. They are world changers. We can't wait to see what they will become! Amy, taking care of kids, as you know, is an on-going responsibility. We need YOUR help in 2018. Our monthly budget for the home is $2,500. We are hoping that you would sign up today to donate $25 or more a month. Alternatively, please make your best one-time donation today. Would you please help us meet this budget today? This would help us continue to provide on-going care. Thank you so much!  We wish you & yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!  Happy New Year!   You can help by donating today!  
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Bed Nets Have Made an Impact in 2017 - Protected Lives From Malaria

Thanks to your generous donations, over 200 bed nets were distributed to families in Freetown, Kamawornie, Bo, Liberia, and Cameroon in 2017.  These bed nets are providing families with protection from malaria while they sleep.   Our goal is to provide even more bed nets to families in 2018.  We want to change the statistics below. According to the CDC: Africa is the most affected due to a combination of factors: A very efficient mosquito (Anopheles gambiae complex) is responsible for high transmission. The predominant parasite species is Plasmodium falciparum, which is the species that is most likely to cause severe malaria and death. Local weather conditions often allow the transmission to occur year-round. Scarce resources and socio-economic instability have hindered efficient malaria control activities. Malaria is one of the most severe public health problems worldwide. It is a leading cause of death and disease in many developing countries, where young children and pregnant women are the groups most affected. According to the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2013 and the Global Malaria Action Plan 3.2 billion people (half the world’s population) live in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 106 countries and territories In 2016, malaria caused an estimated 216 million clinical episodes and 445,000 deaths. An estimated 91% of deaths in 2016 were in the WHO African Region. The most vulnerable are persons with no or little immunity against the disease. In areas with high transmission (such as Africa south of the Sahara), the most vulnerable groups are: Young children, who have not yet developed partial immunity to malaria Pregnant women, whose immunity is decreased by pregnancy, especially during the first and second pregnancies Travelers or migrants coming from areas with little or no malaria transmission, who lack immunity.   Will you help us fight this health epidemic in 2018?  We are striving to provide more bed nets to families in need and we are additionally providing diagnosis and treatment of malaria. We are convinced that together we will one day see a world with no malaria.  
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The School Year Ended Well With Activities

Thanks in part to YOUR support, the school year ended great. Below is a report from the school. Registration period for the 2017-2018 school year was from August 8th, 2017 through August 31st, 2017; and classes started on Monday, September 4, 2017.  Currently, there are 110 pupils enrolled at the school.  The school’s administrators are planning an ‘increased enrollment’ drive in February for the 2018-2019 school year which will begin in September 2018. The school closed on Wednesday, December 20th for the Christmas holiday and will reopen on Monday, January 8, 2018.  All the pupils are expected to return. A closing program was held during the morning of December 20th highlighted by various Christmas plays dramatized by each class. The parents and the community were invited to the program. According to a teacher at the school, the children enthusiastically worked on the plays, perfecting their roles, for over three weeks leading to the program…and the result of their hard work was evident during their performance, as all in attendance cheered at the end of one play after the other. After the Christmas play was over, the second half of the day’s activities involved the distribution of the pupils’ academic performance reports for the semester initially to the pupils, then to the parents for safekeeping. In final remarks, the principal Ms. Juah Sheriff thanked the parents for their presence and support they rendered their children in their quest in pursuing education.   While she was generally satisfied with the pupils’ overall academic performance, she challenged them to strive to make even better grades when they return next month for the next semester. The day before the Closing program, the school held a field day, which comprised of competitive football (soccer), kickball, volleyball, track, and field, etc.The various class levels competed among themselves for several prizes in these sports. It was a day of great fun and of learning and practicing of good sportsmanship. The school held several ‘color day’ during the quarter, usually on Fridays.  During color days, the pupils are encouraged to wear clothes other than their normal school uniforms which they donned during the school year. The parents and pupils expressed their love for ‘color day,’ and the practice is expected to continue next semester. The quarter was also marked by some improvement of the school facility.  In addition to replacing a few damaged zincs on the school building roof, an annex to the building was renovated and converted into a living quarter to have a property caretaker reside on the campus at the beginning of the New Year.  The presence of someone on the property at all times will deter the theft/vandalism that occurred at the facility at night, and when school is not in sessions.    It is a standing policy of the organization to provide education in a structurally sound and safe environment.  Therefore, we are doing everything possible to maintain the integrity of the school building. To this end, we appreciate and welcome your continued support.
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Dream Home Kids Are Making Steady Progress in School

Thank you for your continued support of the Dream Home orphans.   They are each working hard to get good grades in school this year. The primary school pupils will be having their first semester tests in December. Aaron and Osman are attending extra classes as they prepare for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (B.E.C.E). Aisha and Hannah are also attending extra classes for the National Primary School Examination. Dorcas is taking extra classes to prepare for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination. Dorcas is now the Head Girl of Heisler Seventh Day Adventist Senior Secondary School.  The rest of the children are working hard on their academics as well. In November, the Dream Home children had multiple visitors including Aunt Edwina, Pastor Vidal, and Aunt Emma. The children enjoyed every visit and were appreciative of the food, clothing and school supplies that they received.  The Dream Home children are also grateful to Aunt Cecelia for the four boxes of peanuts that she sends every month that is enjoyed by all at the Dream Home. Your continued support of the Dream Home is greatly appreciated as these children continue to work hard academically and strive to become model adults that will impact their communities and nation - and even the world. 
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Solar Lights Make a Difference

Thank you for your support that has enabled us to recently provide solar lights to students in Bo, Makeni, Freetown and Kamawone village.  Most of these students have no electricity and previously had to rely on dangerous kerosene lamps to study at night.  The students were each very appreciative to receive a solar light.  David is one of the students who recently received a solar light. He is in Junior Secondary School (JSS2) at Kakua Community Secondary School in Bo and would like to be a lawyer when he grows up.  He expresses his sincere gratitude in this video. Thank you for your continued support.
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Happy Computer Training Graduates - Because of Your Support

We greatly appreciate your continued support to computer training.  We are happy to share photos from the recent graduation of nine students in the computer training program.   Janet, a Develop Africa Board Member, awarded a certificate of completion to Fatmata B, Fatmata J, Hawanatu, Isatu, Jeneba, Kadiajatu, Mariama, Rachel, and Zainab. Their certificates stated, "Creating Pathways/Develop Africa SL Computer Training Center Certificate" Certificate of completion for Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint/Presentation, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Access/Database and Microsoft Internet Browser.  The nine ladies are excitedly looking forward to making the most of their computer training. The training provided a vital proficiency/skill that will enable their future success.  Your support provided the platform/environment that resulted in the happiness that you can see on their faces. They extend their appreciation to you for helping to provide this important foundation. More photos can be seen on the full album.  Thank you for helping to provide these ladies with the skills needed to have a brighter future.
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A New Young Leader Emerges

Your support is helping young adults in Nigeria get the mentoring support they need to become successful adults.  Bukola is one of the young adults that are already making a difference thanks to the mentoring program she was able to attend thanks in part to your support.  Bukola is a 15 years old, senior secondary school student in Lagos, Nigeria.  Read in her own words how she was able to make a difference in her community: “Ever since I attended S.M.I.L.E's Young Leaders Mentoring Program, I have felt a sense of responsibility and a compelling passion to make a difference within my immediate environment. In my school, we had a very serious challenge with environmental pollution caused by the giant heap of refuse located behind the academic block. The school authority had put in a lot of effort at disposing of this refuse regularly but with the very high student population, waste was generated rapidly. After a while, it seemed the Waste Management Agency was overwhelmed and avoided my school for months. This resulted in a mammoth refuse heap. I felt so concerned and compelled to do something, so I confided in our Vice Principal who also is my mentor and the coordinator of S.M.I.L.E's Young leaders' Club in my school. I also discussed this with members of the S.M.I.L.E. team. These three individuals were great motivators who encouraged me to go ahead with my intentions. I went to the waste management agency office in Ketu and was directed to their headquarters in Ijora. I presented pictures of the refuse dump to them at the headquarters and appealed that they come clear the refuse heap. They promised that the situation will be addressed and gave me a contact number for follow up. I had to call severally, reminding them of my request. At last, it was like a dream, after several attempts, the refuse truck finally showed up on a Thursday evening to clear the refuse. With so much joy in my heart, I decided to sweep the remaining refuse after the truck left to ensure the place was properly cleaned. Everybody was surprised yet very elated and relieved. I felt great and so happy that I was able to make an impact in my school. Students now regard me with great respect and teachers admire me and often use me as a reference point. However, that was only a part of providing a lasting solution to the waste management challenges in my school. The school is currently planning to procure sacks/bags so we can bag the refuse neatly to make it easier for waste management agency officials to pack, which we believe will encourage them to come around more often. Today, I am not only the deputy governor of the S.M.I.L.E Young Leaders Club in my school and the Vice President of Health and Life Planning Club but also the newly appointed Head Girl of the school. My profound appreciation goes to S.M.I..L.E for this laudable mentoring and leadership development program that provided me the necessary guidance and helped me discover my potential to make a great difference. My generation certainly needs more initiatives like that of S.M.I.L.E to guide the youth towards our destinies.” Thank you again for helping future leaders like Bukola make a difference.
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Over 100 children received school supplies - partnership with the GEED Foundation

Over 100 children in Benguema, Waterloo, Sierra Leone received school supplies through our partnership with the GEED Foundation. The school supplies that we provided were highly appreciated as part of the support provided to the community.

The Gilo Education and Economic Development (GEED) Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Sierra Leone with the aim of providing school materials and scholarship to kids. It also provides microfinance to women in Sierra Leone.

Click or tap here to view photos on Flickr.com
Album Date: 
Sat, 12/09/2017
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Freetown Flood & Landslide Update: The Emergency Camps are Phasing Out

The flooding and mudslide in August was a terrible tragedy in Sierra Leone. Thanks to your support, over the past months, we have provided food, water, clothing and other basic supplies to the families in need. We have also provided psychosocial counseling and educational classes. We could not have done it without your support.  Thank you so much for helping flood-affected families in Sierra Leone.   After such a tragic event, the transition back to normal life is not an easy one. Because of this, and to help continue the process of helping, we organized a Fun Fair on November 11, 2017. This was a special treat for the kids residing at the Juba Response Emergency Camp. The Fun Fair gave these children a chance to enjoy an event and provide some healing from their traumatic experience. The event included a skit (play) and a musical concert by a well-known, young artist. More photos are available in the full photo album One of the main preventive measures highlighted in the skit was the importance of hand washing. Kids were encouraged to wash their hands before eating, after using the restroom. Parents were also encouraged to wash their hands before feeding their kids. The skit highlighted areas such as hilltops, the bank of streams and slums as dangerous areas people must stay away from to protect themselves and their children. Develop Africa’s Director, Mr. Abu Conteh, encouraged both the kids and parents to adhere to the preventative measures of cholera highlighted in the drama by the kids and also to stay away from vulnerable areas. In his speech, he advised parents to do everything in their power to send their kids back to school. “Education” he stated “is the key to every success of a nation. Education is the poor man’s friend.” These emergency response camps were set up on a temporary basis. Long term, keeping the families in tents is far from ideal. With this in mind, the families were informed several weeks ago that the camps would be phased out. Families were encouraged to accelerate plans to move out. In order to help them transition out, the families have started receiving care packages (money towards housing expenses, food, water, clothes and other basic supplies). “After the landslide, mudslide and flooding on 14 August 2017, camps of tents were set up to house displaced people. The Office of National Security (ONS) over the weekend engaged with displaced victims at the various camps in Freetown on dispatch plans and procedures for the closing down of the camps on 15 November 2017. The camps will come down and the victims will be removed from the camps.”  - Full Article from Awoko.org  Another news article states, "On 20 November the ONS announced that verified survivors who had not received their aid packages would be permitted to continue sleeping in the formal and informal shelters until they did."  -Full Article- Theguardian.com By November 22nd, at least 28 families had left the Juba camp, with more families leaving every week. Many of the families expressed a sense of powerlessness and uncertainty about their future.  We have obtained the cell phone numbers of many of the families. We plan to continue to provide support to them - particularly in the area of scholarship assistance for the children. These families truly need all the support that they can get as they try to start life over.
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