International Women’s Day celebrates women all over the world, highlighting women’s achievements in all professional fields and aspects of society. In doing so, the day raises awareness against bias and supports a gender-equal world.
After taking its first steps towards rebuilding after an eleven year-long civil war, Sierra Leone was overwhelmed with the devastating Ebola outbreak which resulted in almost 4000 deaths and left over 12,000 children orphaned.
The consequences for children in Sierra Leone continue to be dire, with young girls the ones that suffer the most with no one to care for them. Young girls were too often subjected to rape, forced into marriage and abandoned.
Mabinty (left) and Mary (right), both teenagers, were forced to leave their family homes and commence a life on the streets of Freetown after each was discovered to be pregnant.
Although not an uncommon occurrence in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, there are little to no support structures in place for young girls in these situations. With little hope for their own futures, the girls’ focus is on the health and safety of their unborn babies.
For Mabinty and Mary, hope is found at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre - a comprehensive maternity hospital that provides free healthcare to pregnant women and children along with skills and training to help women take control of their financial future after the birth of their baby.
The Aminata Maternal Foundation helps fund the Aberdeen Women’s Centre and provides support to pregnant young women in vulnerable circumstances. At the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, professional health practitioners help the girls to restore their dignity and start planning for their future.
Prior to coming to Aberdeen Women’s Centre, the future for Mabinty and Mary was bleak and frightening. Now with healthy, newborn babies, Mabinty and Mary are earning income-generating skills to become financially independent and have begun, for the first time in a long time, to dream of a better future. Mabinty plans to one day become a doctor and hopes that her son will become a nurse.
The Aminata Maternal Foundation believes that all women should be allowed to deliver a baby in safety. We believe that teenage girls should be given an opportunity to dream big and build a plan for their future. We believe that each one among us has the power to transform lives for an equal and enabled world.
If you support these dreams, this International Women’s Day takes a step towards a more equal world and give to the Aminata Maternal Foundation. Making healthcare equal for women in Sierra Leone. #EachForEqual
Find out how you can continue to support more women and their babies future in Sierra Leone.
Do you want to hear more about Mary and Mabinty?
READ THEIR STORIES
On 9th January 2020, Blessing a 16-year-old girl delivered a beautiful baby girl. However, her story is one of sadness and shows the engrained misinformation around sexual and gender-based violence and the age of consent in Sierra Leone. Blessing from the slum area of Dwarzak in Freetown was happily attending school and studying hard, living […]Read More
Mabinty Conteh grew up in a village with her mother and father until her father abandoned the family when she was eight years old. When Mabinty was sixteen, a woman from Freetown came to her village on business and promised Mabinty and her mother a better life and a better education for Mabinty. After a […]Read More
Eighteen-year-old Mary Sesay was living with her older sister in Aberdeen when she became pregnant. Soon after she learned this she was told to leave her home because the space was too small for both mother and child. At this point, the father of her unborn baby became emotionally and physically abusive to Mary. Now […]Read More
We heard of Zainab before our trip to Sierra Leone in September 2016. She was 15 years old and 37 weeks pregnant. She lives in one of the districts of Port Loko with her partner’s family. Six weeks later, when we arrived in Sierra Leone, Zainab had yet to go into labour, and had not […]Read More
We came across Jakia when we visited the Kroo Bay slum in Sierra Leone Freetown. Jakia came running to us because she had heard that a midwife from the Aberdeen Women’s Centre was visiting. Jakia was five months pregnant, having lost her first two precious children. Kroo is often described as the worst place in […]Read More
Zainab was brought to the Aberdeen Women’s Centre for fistula repair surgery by Aberdeen Women’s Centre outreach nurses, from her remote village in Moyamba District. She had been suffering with fistula for a couple of years. She explained to us when she went into labour her family was unable to take her to hospital and […]Read More