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Education is a human right.

Without inclusive and accessible education that provide lifelong opportunities, the cycle of poverty leaves many children and adults around the world at a great disadvantage.

January 24th, the International Day of Education aims to recognise the importance of quality education for peace and development. According to the United Nations... about 265 million children and adolescents around the world do not have the opportunity to enter or complete school’ and “less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school.”

Education is Sierra Leone

Africa, Sierra Leone, maternal health, Freetown, health, Sydney, charity, Aminata Maternal Foundation, Aberdeen Women’s Centre, Freedom from Fistula Foundation, women’s health, fistula patients making textiles, African women

A Demographic and Health Survey - DHS conducted in Sierra Leone in 2019, showed strong correlations between a woman’s education and the likeliness for the health and survival for her and her child. 

The report indicated that “children of women with no education are more likely to be underweight than children whose mothers have more than secondary education.” Education attainment is linked to the ability to access work opportunities, have financial independence and therefore her level of wealth. Thus, affecting access to healthcare, likelihood to vaccinate their baby, and access to family planning. 

In 2015 the Sierra Leonean government banned pregnant girls from attending school after the spike of teenage pregnancies during the Ebola outbreak. The DHS found 44.9% of the girls have started childbearing by the age of 19. As a result, almost half of them are deprived of education. Since then, many organisations have fought against the ban recently challenging it in a Nigerian court in December 2019 which found barring pregnant girls from attending school was a violation of human rights. This ruling represents a landmark decision for the thousands of young women who have had to face discrimination, unable to attend lessons and exams, to continue their education. However, pregnant girls are still discouraged to attend school in SL.

The mission of the AMF Foundation is to support short-term, mid-term and long-term goals with the aim of improving maternal mortality outcomes for women and girls in Sierra Leone. The Foundation works in partnership with the Freedom From Fistula Foundation which runs the Aberdeen Women’s Centre (AWC) in Freetown.

The Aminata Maternal Foundation funds the 'Dream Team Project’. The project's educational programs provide numeracy and literacy classes, teach art and crafts and other skills to help the girls to gain financial independence. The young women also receive pre and post-natal education.

Pregnant young girls are extremely vulnerable, some even find themselves homeless. The Training Hostel houses and educates them.

Aminata’s life from poverty

Aminata, the house manager for the ‘Training Hostel’ has an inspirational story of the empowerment education can bring to a woman’s life. 

At 16 she was already married, pregnant, malnourished and living in grinding poverty, little education.

Now at 31, she is fluent in Mandarin, has two university degrees, including a Masters in Hospitality and Tourism from a Beijing University, she’s financially independent and unlike an estimated 65% of graduates, she has a well paying full-time job which she loves.

Aminata knows education helps girls to fulfil their potential.

Read more about the Dream Team Project.

Read more about this topic:

Sierra Leone ordered to revoke ban on pregnant schoolgirls

A Sierra Leone school has defied the country’s ban on having pregnant girls in class

READ MORE ABOUT WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO

‘Rising Heart’ and raising spirits in the Women’s Weekly

August 14, 2020

Have you seen the September issue of Women’s Weekly yet? This month features a six-page special on the life & journey of Aminata. She talks about her life during the war in Sierra Leone, her settlement in Australia as a refugee, and what inspired her to start the Aminata Maternal Foundation. Having our Founder in […]

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Available to order

July 28, 2020

29 sleeps to go until my memoir, Rising Heart, will be released & in your hands! I feel so excited and humbled to share my story with you. Order now You know that my story is a message of hope and resilience despite experiencing extreme trauma. My dream is for every mother in Sierra Leone to […]

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Your help is vital in Sierra Leone

June 25, 2020

Donate today A special thank you to our supporters who have already generously donated to our emergency COVID-19 appeal. As we head into the end of the financial year, now is the perfect time to make a tax-deductible gift. We are only $20,000 short of our target for this Tax Appeal campaign – any gift […]

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Business Chicks Australia Instagram Take Over

June 17, 2020

Thanks to Business Chicks Australia for the opportunity to amplify refugee voices in Aminata Conteh-Biger‘s take over of the Business Chick’s Instagram on the 16th of June. Aminata shared some images from our inaugural Bluff & Swagger African Fashion Lunch at SCEGGS in 2018, our first AMF Mother’s Day Walk in 2019, and second Bluff & Swagger Lunch […]

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Rising Heart out August 25

June 14, 2020

You’ve waited very patiently and we’re delighted to share that Rising Heart will be released on 25 August 2020. Please join us in pre-ordering Aminata’s memoir ‘Rising Heart’ ASAP, and if you are super organised and have already done so we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We trust you are just as excited as we […]

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Show your thanks this Mother’s Day!

May 5, 2020

MOTHER’S DAY IS ON SUNDAY 10 MAY 2020 This Mother’s Day make your mother feel extra special by helping mothers on the other side of the world. Give the gift of hope by purchasing an Aminata Maternal Foundation donation e-Card or join the Foundation’s Mother’s Day social media campaign. This Mother’s Day we’re thankful to […]

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Midwife Training
Midwife capacity building is critical to reducing maternal and infant mortality.

The program is investing in up-skilling new graduates and in expanding our safe delivery program. It aims to build a comprehensive train the trainer
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'I have met many refugees the world over, and the courage of Aminata's personal account as a survivor of unimaginable cruelty is both disturbing and inspiring. Her unwavering belief in human kindness in the face of so much adversity is what makes her a role model for so many women and girls.'

-Louise Aubin, UNHCR Representative

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Would you like to learn more about Sierra Leone?


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WHERE WE WORK...

We will be sharing with you this month more detailed information about Sierra Leone, our Aberdeen Women's Centre, the services we provide and the women and children that we help. We hope this will give you an insight into Freedom From Fistula. For more information please visit our website.

SIERRA LEONE - THE COUNTRY

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa bordered by Guinea, Liberia and the Atlantic Ocean. It has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests. The country has a total area of 71,740km2 and a population of 7.65 million. The country's capital and largest city is Freetown, where Aberdeen Women’s Centre is located.

POLITICS

Sierra Leone became independent from the UK on 27 April 1961, led by Sir Milton Margai, who became the country's first prime minister. The current president of Sierra Leone is Julius Maada Bio.

RELIGION

Sierra Leone is a Muslim-majority country, with the overall Muslim population at 78%, though there is an influential Christian minority at 21%. Sierra Leone is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant states in the world. Muslims and Christians collaborate and interact with each other very peacefully, and religious violence is very rare. Freedom From Fistula treat patients regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability or sex.

#aberdeenwomenscentre #sierraleone #maternalhealth #womenshealth #africa #africangeographic
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