Epilepsy Association of Sierra Leone
Project: Textile Training
Sierra Leone is a small West African country that has borders with Guinea in the North East, Liberia in the South East and the Atlantic ocean in the West of the continent with approximately 50,000 persons with epilepsy. We are just recovering from a ten year civil war. The recent national population census revealed a population of 4.9 million people of which women consists of 51.3% with high disease incidence. The economy of the country is still about 80% donor dependent.
The Epilepsy Association of Sierra Leone was established in 2002 to dispel cultural views associated with epilepsy and to improve the quality of life of persons affected, through treatment, counselling and provision of skills training for self reliance. The present literacy rate among persons with epilepsy in Sierra Leone enrolled in primary schools is low and only a negligible fraction makes it to secondary school level (High school). Even if a person with epilepsy manages to gain entry to second level education, they are often driven out due to misunderstanding and fear of transmitting the disease to other students. This has greatly contributed to the increase in number of school drop-outs of persons with epilepsy.
The Association has 10 personnel trained in tailoring, five of whom have epilepsy, who specialize in mens clothing, women and children dresses, bed spreads, pillows, etc. There is a great need to pass on these skills to these disadvantaged people.
Each Trainer has ten Trainees, and all Trainees have the right to consult any Trainer for help in the skills provided. The Trainees are entitled to one sewing machine for training as others go on to study theory.
- Poverty reduction is prioritized among persons with epilepsy. After training they will be well equipped to cater for themselves, their families and to extend their services to their local communities.
- Stigmatization and discrimination of persons with epilepsy will be addressed.
- Problems of lack of employment and basic education will be solved.
Population Targeted/Impact of Programme
Among the 50 targeted youth beneficiaries of the project, at least 50% should be female. The project will impact on the socio economic status of those members who were abandoned and neglected by their communities because of their epilepsy, and will be seen as a force for development in the community.
In the implementation of this project, some risks that may occur or might have a negative impact on the organization are outlined below:
- Those whose seizures are not completely controlled may once on a while experience an epileptic attack during training.
- The beneficiaries may not cooperate fully as some of them have formed the habit of street begging.
- Some of the trainees may not apply the skills acquired.
- No demand for financial rewards from beneficiaries with be considered.
- Availability of funds and resources at the right time.
Goal: To improve the socio-economic status of registered persons with epilepsy in Sierra Leone.
Purpose: To enable persons with epilepsy to be gainfully employed by empowering them with tailoring skills.
Output: Basic training for 50 persons with epilepsy in general dress making between April 2007 and March 2009.
The qualified tailors and coordinators of the organization will help to facilitate the training. The training will last for two years and, following training, the beneficiaries will be provided with start up kits to establish their own tailoring workshops. Those trained will be encouraged to pass on their skills and techniques to others.