Skiers set up African charity
22nd September 2009
It aims to help the street children of Sierra Leone and here at PlanetSKI we think it is a great enterprise and worthy of support.
Regular readers will know that we don’t just cover ski stories on the web site.
We let you know about anything that takes our fancy and this is one such venture, albeit one that is being run by, Tom Dannatt, a BASI qualified ski instructor.
Dannatt set up the charity, Street Child of Sierra Leone, in December 2008 and it aims to re-unite the children with their families and get them off the street and on the road to a more worthwhile life.
It is based in the poorest major city in the country, Makeni, where the average male life expectancy is 35 and much of the poverty stems from the devastating civil war. Thousands of children simply live on the street scavenging a life.
They may be orphans, abandoned by their families, have run away or been kidnapped into slavery and then escaped.
Many of the volunteers with The Street Child of Sierre Leone are keen skiers and snowboarders.The charity’s co-ordinator, Chloe Brett, works behind the bar of the T-bar in PlanetSKI’s base resort of Verbier during the winter months.
It is currently helping 170 children providing food, education and daytime shelter to the kids, some as young as 5 years old, in the poorest country in the world.
They sleep rough in bus shelters, disused cinemas and on street corners and usually their only possessions are what they are wearing.
Many are ex-child soldiers from the country’s civil war.
16 year old, Adama, is just one example of a girl they have helped.
She endured a life of prostitution, slavery and abandonment after she lost contact with her family as a 5-year old.
She is now receiving care and help in finding her family.
13-year old Ishmael was one of the first boys the charity managed to re-unite with his family.
He was found on the streets in December 2008 suffering from malaria and scabies.
The project staff gave him treatment and managed to get him into foster care.
For an interview with the Director of The Street Child of Sierra Leone, Tom Dannatt, see the video below. He explains to PlanetSKI’s, James Cove, why he set the charity up.
So what it is actually like in Sierre Leone?
Chloe Brett is the charity’s co-ordinator and she spent much of the summer in Makeni as a volunteer helping the charity. Stepping off the plane was a big culture shock as she tells us in the video interview below.
Do please take a look at the charity’s web site and if you want to help they need money and volunteers.
It is a project PlanetSKI is supporting and we’ll be keeping you updated on its work.
For the spirit of the mountains.