Program areas at Helping Children Worldwide
Global Health and Mercy Hospital (Mercy) - Mercy's mission is to improve infant and maternal mortality rates in Sierra Leone by providing holistic, community-focused care, regardless of ability to pay. Mercy is a 50-bed facility with a trained and dedicated medical staff including a full-time doctor, a medical laboratory, a research laboratory, a fully stocked pharmacy on-site, a limb-fitting and rehabilitation center, an HIV/Aids clinic, and a surgical wing with two operating theatres. It is the first hospital to incorporate an electronic hospital management and patient records system in Sierra Leone. In 2020, travel restrictions and impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a reduction of patient services in outlying villages, and in-patient services. However, Mercy Hospital and Mercy Outreach were able to provide medical and diagnostic services to approximately 11,000 patients in Bo and 46 villages, and also provide Covid-19 education and prevention services to the community and surrounding villages. Helping Children Worldwide was also able to complete a solar power installation project at Mercy to enable the surgical wing and essential medical equipment to run with a consistent source of electricity. Mercy's outreach into the surrounding villages includes nutrition clinics, with treatment provided for malnourished infants, prenatal care and education, malaria testing and treatment, and HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, as well as support for basic health needs in clean water and sanitation.
Mission Team Deployment and Missionary Training Centre - United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) teams are comprised of individuals who travel to Sierra Leone to volunteer at CRC and Mercy Hospital. Over the years, teams have engaged in a wide variety of service projects to support the lives of children and their families, including medical and dental clinics, construction projects, teacher training collaborations, and capacity building work with local leadership. Beginning in March 2020 Helping Children Worldwide was unable to deploy mission teams to Sierra Leone due to the Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. However, individuals participated in long distance mission teams that worked with the staff in Sierra Leone to improve services and increase mission effectiveness. Anticipating future team deployments, HCW invested in essential maintenance and caretaking for the Missionary Training Centre, including a new generator to supply power to the facility, and security and maintenance staff.
Child Welfare and Child Reintegration Centre (CRC) - The CRC offers services to children and families in one of the most impoverished regions of the world. The programs offered by the CRC rescue children from poverty, homelessness and hopelessness by providing support for their education, health care and spiritual growth. In Sierra Leone, illiteracy hovers between 60% and 70%, 60% live below the global poverty line of $1.90 per day and poverty is the number one reason children are living on the street and do not go to school. Because of CRC programs, 601 children were supported in school in 2020. The children in CRC programs receive free medical care through Mercy Hospital. During 2020, the CRC supported students in preschool through secondary education programs and offered youth graduating from post-secondary school additional opportunity for advancement through scholarships. Through the CRC incentive program, high-performing students were able to pursue education and technical training to better prepare them for a trade or profession. During 2020, the CRC promise scholarship program had 27 students enrolled in programs in a variety of universities and vocational technical institutions, including education in medical and technology fields. Families are provided additional support for food, and access to a microloan program with financial literacy and entrepreneurial training to increase family stability, so that children may attend school rather than work. CRC programming is family-centered and community based, with a professional case management staff. The UN Convention on Rights of a Child reaffirmed in 2019 that children are entitled to grow in families, and in 2020 the CRC hosted the first educational and training seminar for providers on how to reintegrate children living without parental care or on the street into families and homes and brought 17 children off the street and returned them home. HCW supports training teams to assist CRC case managers efforts to provide quality care that meets global standards, despite being located in an extreme low resource environment. During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic lockdown CRC provided families with food assistance and solar radios so that children could access the government educational programs while schools were closed.