Olney Newton Link
The Olney-Newton Link is a local community charity who's aim is to advance education and relieve poverty in Newton, Sierra Leone by the provision of charitable assistance.
Newton is a Rural Community, with a population of about 24,000, approximately 24 miles east of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone is a small country (the size of Republic of Ireland) in West Africa, situated north of the Equator and with a population of 6 million. It has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rain forests. . Two thirds of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, but the country is still a net importer of food. Economically the country is over reliant on the export of minerals, primarily diamonds, as its principal foreign exchange earner.
It is ranked the 10th poorest country in the world by the United Nations. In 2012 life expectancy was 57 (a marked increase since 2009 when it was 41, but a long way behind the United Kingdom’s 80). The 1991 – 2002 Civil War destroyed much of the education system in the country and in 2001 67% of school age children were out of school. By 2004/05 only 64% of children completed Primary Education.
English is the language of instruction in schools and official language of the government, but Krio (derived from English and several indigenous African languages) is the primary language of communication amongst the different ethnic groups and is spoken by 90% of the population. A majority of the population are Muslim, but there is an influential Christian minority. The religious groups collaborate with each other peacefully, the constitution of the country provides for freedom of religion and does not tolerate its abuse.
Pictured: Anne McCallum, visiting the Skills Training Centre, Newton in Spring 2014.
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