TVL is bringing free education to Golu, Sierra Leone!

After a long and hard year of battling Ebola, Sierra Leone is still working tirelessly to put the pieces of it's already fragile healthcare system, education system and economy back together. People are back to work but the lasting effects of Ebola are still very much present. There are more orphan's and teenage pregnancies than before and the local businesses are struggling to recoup lost revenues. During the height of the Ebola outbreak, TVL knew that the community we work in - Golu - really needed something to keep a sense of normalcy while things were anything but. So we proposed to the community committee an education program that would provide 300 children out of school with a daily obligation to lessons. On March 1st we launched our Radio Education & Tutoring Program. We provided 100 radios and 300 school supply kits so that the children could take advantage of the broadcasted school lessons that the Ministry of Education and UNICEF put on in place of schools being closed. In addition to this we hired 4 volunteer teachers from the community and provided a monthly stipend for them to help and tutor the children on their lessons. Furthermore, we wanted to encourage attendance and we were able to keep an average weekly attendance around 80% by providing incentives in the form of biscuits for the children.

Even though Ebola is still lingering in the country we are moving forward with our plans to install a digital library into the community resource center in Golu. TVL is headed back to Golu this August to begin the final phase of our Project Golu - providing access to free education. We have already purchased the digital library but we are still collecting donations to go towards more computers and tablets. If you would like to make a contribution towards free education in Golu you can do so here. TVL will also accept hardware donations. If you are upgrading your laptop or tablet you can make a donation to TVL by getting in touch with us at

We'll keep you posted on our progress as we countdown the days until we leave and during our trip. Stay tuned for more!



The Village Link Team

UPDATE: Emergency Operating Center Pilot in Golu

For those of you following the Emergency Operating Center (EOC) Pilot Project, that we have been working, below is a quick update. From a health standpoint, Ebola has finally started to make a decline in daily reported cases. Schools in Sierra Leone are talking about re-opening and in the meantime the radio program will stay in effect. So things are headed in a much more positive direction than before the new year. With that said, there is still a ways to go to get Sierra Leone back to where it was before this devastating setback.

TVL's long time trusted partner, SBTS Group, will be sending an employee up to Golu this week to assess the situation and from there, we will jointly discuss the best strategy to launch the EOC pilot. This is a project that we both believe the CDC would like to see to help with today's crisis and tomorrows. There are long term plans to roll the same EOC template out across the country in various rural communities, if this pilot can prove to be a success in Golu. The goal of this project is to decentralize the response and reduce response times for emergency health reports. Currently, there is one response center in Freetown which feeds information out to the rest of the country. A faster response time is needed in order to get ahead of a major health crisis such as the Ebola outbreak. By installing EOC's across the country the response time should be able to be reduced.

In addition to SBTS Group leading the charge on the EOC pilot project, they have also graciously offered to provide Golu with a software that will track student illness reports per school. With schools re-opening and groups of people starting to gather again, before Ebola is completely gone, it will help give parents and educators peace of mind knowing that this type of information is being tracked.

As more updates come up we will continue to update you on this project.

Golu Update - Post 3 day door to door health check


We got an update from Golu and thankfully, there are still no cases of Ebola. The people are well educated and taking precautions to stay safe. The three day door to door health check extravaganza over the weekend resulted in 112 new Ebola tests in the country, of which 49 tested positive. Many believe that the three day house to house health checks were successful in helping the country to bring the Ebola crisis under control. During this time health professionals were handing out soap and rumors spread that the soap was laced with Ebola, intended to infect people. One of the challenges the Sierra Leonian government and International health agencies are facing, is gaining the trust of everyone and getting them to follow the suggested precautions to prevent further spread instead of listening to these rumors. For the most part people are back to their "normal" lives. They are still staying close to home, avoiding big gatherings and limiting their travel but shops and markets are open for business. There are talks of another door to door health check in October but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

The Village Link continues to work with our partnership to plan on the installation of the digital library once the crisis is under control. Lots of work to do!

The Burial Boys of Sierra Leone

For a mere $6 a day these boys are on the front lines, fighting the war against Ebola burying victims safely to help prevent further transmission of this virus. Watch this touching video to better understand what it takes to contain this outbreak and the sacrifices these young men are making for their country.  

Daily Life In Sierra Leone Amidst The Ebola Outbreak

Daily life in Sierra Leone has drastically changed for residents with the growing fear of Ebola and all that comes with this terrible viral invasion. People have had to learn how to operate daily tasks amongst this fear. Running normal everyday errands such as getting groceries, has become a risky activity. For example, in the last few weeks random check points throughout Freetown have been set up to measure body temperatures in an effort to prevent the spread of Ebola. If you're selected to be tested you are first asked to clean your hands. Then, your body temperature is measured with a non-contact laser thermometer that gets a reading from your forehead. If you have a fever, you have no choice. Immediately you are taken into quarantine until it is determined if your fever is from Ebola or not. People are avoiding the hospital and roads even if they are sick due to other illnesses, such as malaria, in fear they will contract Ebola from being near an infected person or seized and taken from their loved ones without notice. These random check points for Ebola symptoms has made moving around the city a risk. Restrictions on traveling throughout the country have been in place some time, affecting the already fragile economy. Worse, borders have been closed preventing commerce. With people staying inside they are unable to go shopping, leaving the countries families and individuals feeling the financial stress of lower incomes.

Despite this bad news and worrisome situation, we are happy to report that as of now Golu has no reported cases of Ebola. What we've learned over the past few months is that education about this virus and how to avoid spreading it, is the most useful tool in prevention. The residents of Golu have been well educated on how to prevent the spreading of Ebola and have been exercising these precautions to keep their community safe. Though it is good news to hear Golu has no Ebola cases, they too have fallen victim to the other challenges that come out of preventative care and country wide travel restrictions.

In Golu, one of the primary sources of income and resources is going to the weekly market in the nearby junction town, Gerehun and  to the closest city, Bo, to buy and sell goods and food products. Gerehun has no reported cases of Ebola but a nearby village, Jebehun, has one confirmed case. Bo now has 31 confirmed cases of Ebola so this has scared many Golu residents from making the trek to Bo's market. Unfortunately, fear as well as the prevention and quarantine practices are leaving this small community with fewer resources and income. In addition to this, it's rainy season so the community resource center's main source of revenue - cell phone charging stations - are moderately being used due to lower solar power reserves and financial difficulties making communication in and out of the village difficult.

Overall throughout the country everyone is feeling the affects of this terrible virus and all the other issues and challenges that come along with it. This country has been through so much and somehow the people of Sierra Leone are able to remain positive and have proven to the world time and time again that they are resilient when faced with challenges that would most likely devastate many other countries. We know that Sierra Leone will bounce back from these hard times and pick up where they left off. The Village Link remains committed to helping the countries underrepresented communities to gain self-sufficiency once again.

Below are the current facts and figures for Sierra Leone according to the CDC and WHO, along with a couple interesting videos on the virus.

  • The Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone and WHO reported a cumulative total of 1026 suspect and confirmed cases, including 935 laboratory-confirmed cases, and 422 deaths.

  • Cases have been confirmed in 11 of 12 Sierra Leone districts.


2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - Outbreak DistributionMap

Ebola Outbreak Map (CDC)