Return to Sierra Leone
03 / 24 / 2010Return to Blog
I am leaving tomorrow to Freetown, Sierra Leone filled with feelings of anxiety as well as hope. The last time I was there was just a few months after the brutal civil war ended in 2002 that claimed tens of thousands of lives and left more than a third of its population displaced. Yet it is the unspeakable atrocities that are so haunting. I remember back in 1999, Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora, a friend and extremely committed journalist, who was later killed covering the conflict, told me stories of rebels offering their victims the choice between a “long sleeve” or “short sleeve” just as they were about to hack off their victims’ arms. When I arrived, three years later, I saw faces devoid of expression, weighed down by these horrific memories. The goal was not just to kill people but to terrorize an entire population.
Today security and the politics are steadily improving but there is a quieter battle still going on. One in eight women are dying giving birth. The government recently announced free health care to pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers and children under five beginning on April 27. With only about 170 doctors for more than 5 million people, this will be a daunting task. I hope this documentary can raise awareness, promote change and help. The doctors, health workers and government are working hard to change the statistics.
If you are interested in learning more about this or want to donate, the following links are to organizations working there.
You May Also Enjoy
My heart is exploding with love and gratitude to all of you who made the Vital Impacts fundraiser for humanitarian aid a huge success. Thanks to the outpouring of support, the print initiative sold over $800,000 of iconic, fine art prints by some of the world’s most fascinating photographers. I am grateful for the generosity [ … ]
I am honored to launch a new Vital Impacts flash print sale with the photographers of National Geographic. 100% of profits will be donated to Direct Relief who are allocating these funds to the regions in the world in most need of humanitarian aid. They are working in Ukraine now to provide medical aid to [ … ]
World-respected, Montana-based photographer Ami Vitale has captured extraordinary scenes in more than 100 countries. Yet there’s one place that remains at the top of her list when it comes to creative inspiration: Northern Kenya. Since her first visit to the region in 2009, the Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic photographer has returned regularly to immerse [ … ]