We have launched a new challenge called HUG4SL. The idea is simple… Hug someone, post a picture using the hashtag #hug4sl and donate £5. £5 is enough to support a primary school child for 3 months.This small donation will go towards mid-term relief efforts in Sierra Leone. As the 5000 people affected by the floods try to rebuild their lives, the focus needs to be placed on education. ‘Children are the future’ may be an overused adage but it is no less true.

Research shows that children who miss over a year of school in developing climates never make it back on track. The £10000 we are raising will be used to help these children. To make this money go further, we will join the fundraising campaign run by the small charity well integrated into the community in Sierra Leone, Street child. Although the charity is UK based, their mission for over 8 years has been to focus on keeping orphaned kids off the streets and getting them back to school. We have already seen a benefit from this partnership since UKAID have promised to double any donation received by Street child. Our donation will, therefore, be doubled to £20000.

We are joining the battle for Africa to write its own story. So far this battle has been focused on governments that were former colonisers who still exploit African resources. Another enemy, that presents itself as a friend is the large NGO who profits from spreading outdated images of our continent. We all know that starving Somali child swarming with flies…. Being children of Africa who are in touch with the happenings of our motherland, we feel that we should work to become self-sustaining in this field as well as others.

I noticed exactly how much money and effort was thrown at hurricane Harvey, which was treated as the biggest natural disaster in modern US history. The death toll stayed low, due to preparedness and early warning as much as an ability to react. Hearing the United States government discuss the $15 billion they would dedicate to relief efforts, it struck me that African governments are lagging behind. Through campaigns such as these, which are run by small organizations that are based locally, perhaps we can start to make some ground. The utopian dream would be a pot of money that African countries can dip into to recover from disasters such as this.

In order for this dream to come true, we must mobilize the masses. It is estimated that there are over 140 million people in the African diaspora. With all these voices joining together to spread the word, and support or families back home, we can start to change Africa’s narrative. The effort from Checkout Africa starts with Sierra Leone, but we will not stop there.

Click here to see our campaign video!