A woman from Sierra Leone is appealing for help from the people of Northampton with the huge task of building an orphanage in her homeland.
Susan Benjamin moved to England in 1971, but regularly returns home to visit.
And through her charity, Bethany International House for Children, and her church, Christ United Ministry International, in Wellingborough Road, she is looking for support to build an orphanage in the city of Waterloo.
The charity has already purchased four-and-a-half acres of land, but now needs to raise £240,000 to build the orphanage.
Miss Benjamin, of The Headlands, has lived in Northampton since 1976.
She said: “We have permission and the technical drawings for the land, but we need £240,000 to build it.
“We want to make it a modern place where children can educate themselves.
“We are looking for other people to come forward and help. It would take a year to build if we started now. Once the money is there and we have the right people, we can do it.”
Waterloo still bears the scars of the Sierra Leone civil war, which started in 1991.
At the moment, a temporary building in the city caters for 12 children.
The new building would cater for at least 50 children, and would also include a nursery, primary school and a church. The charity also looks to provide food, clothing and medical facilities.
Miss Benjamin said: “The area was really badly affected by the war. We can still see the bombed-out old school. The war started in 1991 but it is the after-effects of it which are also bad. There are some children up to 10 years old who have never been to school.” As well as financial support, Miss Benjamin is also looking for a retired teacher with experience in nursery work to go to Sierra Leone to help with the project.
Anyone who can help can call Miss Benjamin on Northampton 401803 or 07852 281896. Donations can be made via Paypal at www. bethanyinternationalhouse.com.
Bethany International House’s vision is “to see every child in Waterloo village as part of a safe and loving family environment, and to empower every child in Waterloo village with adequate education in order to fulfil their purpose in life.”
Waterloo, in Sierra Leone, has a population of approximately 40,000. It is the largest city in the western area of the country.
It was once a prosperous area in the 19th and 20th centuries, but suffered massively after the outbreak of the Sierra Leone civil war.
During this time, rebel soldiers pillaged and ravaged homes, schools, churches, offices, and government buildings, with many inhabitants fleeing the town. The city is still suffering the after-effects today.