July 2020 Newsletter

1st July 2020 | Posted in Newsletters

Hi there,

What a few months its been, as we wrestle with this new world.  Isn’t it wonderful that today is a new day where we can get a fresh insight on whatever is challenging us?    

Freetown airport is due to open soon and I look forward to returning to Sierra Leone, probably in September.

Last week, my father passed away.  At the age of 86 I took him to Destiny Village.  He had no previous experience of the type of poverty we see in the slums.  I can still remember how upset he was when talking about how people live in such “horrible” conditions. Below is photo of him with the polio lady’s association whom we have supported since 2004.

One reason COVID has not resulted in many Sierra Leonean deaths is that there are few vulnerable people left, as they die from tooth infection, diabetes and so much more; illnesses we can resolve.  In our countries, we keep people alive with great healthcare and the drugs not available to many in the world.  My dad had so much wrong with him yet made it to 88.  It reminds me what a privilege it has been to be born in my generation and location and the massive resources we have, relative to the many who live outside of our sight and consciousness.

Unfortunately, as a charity, our last 3 months income has been tiny.  We have not yet found the breakthrough funding we seek, so had to make some tough decisions to ensure sustainability. As discussed below, we have moved our workforce (of nearly 100) to maintenance level which has not been easy.   

Thank you for your love, support, words of encouragement to press on and of course, your prayers.

With love from

Nigel Hyde
Chief Executive

Developing a village leadership team in the village has not been straight forward as cultural practice, education, saving face and lack of leadership skills have meant we have struggled to see a leadership group come together. 

We have therefore recently recruited five new families into Destiny Village to bring some fresh thinking and capability to the village leadership team. We have diverted slightly and temporarily from our normal policy of recruiting only families from slum areas, by recruiting people with proven leadership skills to provide support for our Village Chief Andrew.  Even so, one of the new families does currently live in Cockle Bay slum.  One of the new recruits is a serving policeman who is now stationed within Destiny Village and the local police leaders want us to build a small police station for them in the village which will be a great help on security.

The effects of Covid

We have only had one confirmed case in the village and thankfully we managed to stop it spreading to other people. The individual is now back at work. The picture is of some of our team social distancing!  Due to the effect of Covid on donations and gifts we have had to ‘tighten our belts’ for the next two months and instigate period of furlough for our workers.  A reduction in salary was of course not good news for the residents and staff but we are pleased that this was calmly received as we ensured people have enough to live on.  This also ties in with the rains where productivity usually declines dramatically.

Primary School

We will be expanding our infant and junior school in September by bringing in about 100 additional children from the surrounding villages as well as continuing the excellent work with the Destiny Village children. This has been undergirded as a result of a very generous £10,000 donation to the school for which we are very grateful.  We continue to seek regular support for this vital education initiative in a place where most of our residents were unable to finish primary school.

Completing the next 8 homes

One of our Trustees, Bob May, is organising a fund raising 10k run to take place simultaneously in the UK and in Sierra Leone. The hope is that we will raise enough to complete the currently being built housing block (Villas 8) which give 8 more slum families a new life opportunity.

Measuring Impact and Outcomes

In our continual efforts to attract significant funding into the project we have begun a major analysis of a wide range of metrics that describe and illustrate progress and achievement. We already know that large funding organisations require this type of detailed information and we are making sure that we have the evidence, expressed in the right way to satisfy the (very stringent) requirements of these funding bodies

Residents Behaviour

We continue to work with and try to shape the behavioural challenges we experience from some of the residents who, because of their very difficult background and history do not have good personal strategies to deal with life when it gets difficult.  There have been a handful of situations where behaviours (such as severely disciplining their own children) have challenged us to continue to accommodate some people in the village. However, we strive to follow the example of Christ’s hard-love forgiveness, whilst recognising there are lines that simply cannot be passed.  We have therefore taken an approach that instead of eviction, we devised an option of a 12-month parole system, including counselling and mentoring to give a very structured opportunity for change.  We look forward to seeing how the mentees respond!

Destiny Community Church

The country closed churches and mosques for a period. Now they are opening up.  Without the technology we have to keep connections and services running, much church activity ground to a halt. 

We are working with our church leaders to relaunch the church in October.  If you pray, please pray for Andrew, Patrick and Elizabeth as we work with them to gain more insight about how the church can serve the resident and its environment and develop some fresh thinking.

Adult Education

We are pleased to report that a number of residents continue with their second chance at an education, led by Emmanuel who provides 2 classes a week.

Police Visit

The local police have just changed their leadership.  The new leaders paid us a visit and offered help and guidance about their work and community issues.

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