Children in need of rescue
In the fall of 1999, Reverend John Yambasu of the Sierra Leone United Methodist Church traveled to the US with a fervent hope of finding help for children who were orphaned or abandoned during the long civil war in his country. Rev. Yambasu received an outpouring of generous support from Floris United Methodist Church of Herndon, Virginia, when he spoke to the congregation just before Christmas. With Floris’ support, a street feeding program was launched, and 40 children were rescued from the streets. On July 4, 2000, the Child Rescue Centre was founded in the city of Bo, Sierra Leone. From those first 40 children, the Child Rescue Centre (CRC) has grown to include a spectrum of programs serving more than 600 extremely vulnerable children and youth, helping them escape the vicious cycle of poverty and develop their full potential.
Helping Children Worldwide launches
As the work of the Child Rescue Centre expanded, so did the need for support. In 2003, the nonprofit organization Helping Children Worldwide was formed to provide financial and strategic support to the Child Rescue Centre, and Floris reached out to other churches in Virginia, asking them to form a partnership. Today, sixteen churches from Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, Ohio and Massachusetts financially support the newly renamed Child Reintegration Centre and Mercy Hospital and passionately advocate for children and families affected by extreme poverty.
Mercy Hospital opens
As the mission of the Child Rescue Centre expanded, the staff and volunteers of Helping Children Worldwide became acutely aware of the need for medical care in Sierra Leone. In 2007, Mercy Hospital opened its doors to provide compassionate care to the people of Bo, regardless of their ability to pay for treatment. Today, Mercy Hospital provides excellent health care services to more than 10,000 patients each year. Mercy Hospital supports community health initiatives including malaria, HIV/AIDS diagnosis and treatment, pre- and post-natal care, and child nutrition, with a special focus on maternal and infant survival.