Ryan visited various sites on an intensive two-day trip, following a six-hour flight from London to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. His first port of call was a health centre in Binkolo where he learned about the challenges in child survival and measures that can be taken to prevent HIV being passed from a mother to her baby.
“Healthcare in Sierra Leone is very limited. I saw a woman giving birth on a bed, in the same room where an antenatal class was taking place,” reflects Ryan.
“Hopefully people will continue to help and donate money to UNICEF, in order to give much-needed funds to places like the health centre in Binkolo.”
The first day’s itinerary also took Ryan to the remote village of Mangoreh, where he visited a family who were receiving advice and information about HIV. Later he watched children at Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone Primary School take part in a question and answer session on the disease and perform a short play about it.
Finally for day one, Ryan met the Queens of the North, a local team for girls and young women in Makeni.
The players, aged 15 to 22, explained how football has helped to empower them, and how they’re using the game to spread the HIV message.