Sierra Leone Smiles


Empowering young people with new skills has never felt so good! During our Global Expedition to Heaven Homes, I had the chance to teach the craft of silversmithing to some of the talented teens.

Those of you who know me will know that I helped to set up the charity and I’ve been working part time for Operation Orphan since the early years. Looking after orphans is my life-long dream.

My profession is Teaching, but once my four children were all at school, I decided to retrain as a silversmith to fulfil my love for designing and making. Teaching jewellery making soon became a business and passion of mine. I absolutely love passing on my skills and making others happy. My two part-time jobs have always remained completely separate but after the last trip to visit the children, I saw an opportunity to use my silversmithing skills to add value and create opportunities for some of the older children at the homes.

I noticed one young man in particular was fantastic at creative tasks and yet, he’s not brilliantly academic. my hope was to train him so that he can create his own income using his skills. Training one person means that they, in turn, can help the others.

I have to say that this was one of my most rewarding trips. Combining both things I am passionate about and leaving something really tangible behind felt so good. I worked with each of the teens to create their own ring. This was following sexual health talks we had last time with our GP on the team. The ring is symbolic of them looking after themselves because they are PRECIOUS.

EVERY DAY my student came to learn more and he created some wonderful pieces of jewellery. He even helped to teach others whilst I was there! It was so good for his self esteem and I saw him in a new light, shining with confidence and happiness.

A couple more of the teens came and made pieces of jewellery too, enjoying the chance to learn new things. I also tried my best to talk about business and how to run one successfully. We thought about making a sustainable business by getting hold of materials from within their own country to continue.

Finally, I added each item for sale onto a Facebook event I called Sierra Leone Smiles. many of these things sold right away and the payment for these will be used to help them set up their very own business. I’m excited to see where this leads and so proud of my wonderful students!