How the NarSarah Clinic Began
The vision and the people behind the clinic
SEED International began in 2005, serving approximately 50 individuals, with only two staff and two volunteers. The organization has grown to serve more than 4,500 people with twelve staff, two volunteers, and over 50 international visitors and part time volunteers. Many thousands more have benefited from SEED programs indirectly as health indicators improve, incomes rise, education levels increase and agricultural practices improve in Kabala town and the surrounding villages. These grassroots, community-based initiatives have helped transform parts of the Koinadugu District, one of the poorest districts in one of the least developed countries in the world.
Below are the highlights of how it all began.
1965 - 1968: The beginning
Hope and Les Law get married and head to Sierra Leone to fulfill a three-year commitment to teach at Harford School for Girls in Moyamba. They meet a student named Dorcas Kargbo.
1968: A dream takes shape
Their three-year term has ended, and Hope and Les want to keep a connection with Sierra Leone as they have fallen in love with the country and the people. They ask Dorcas to join them in the United States so she can get a college education and fulfill her vision of building a clinic in her home country, in her mother’s honor.
1969 – 1975: A New Family Begins
Dorcas lives in the U.S with Hope and Les while attaining a degree in Nursing. A family is formed with a large extensive family in Sierra Leone. Dorcas meets and marries Dan Kamanda, a Sierra Leonean at the University of Illinois. They go back to Sierra Leone in 1975 and their first child is born in 1976, a daughter named Hopenet, named in honor of Hope and her mother Jeanette. A second child is born in 1977, a son named Ali.
1975 - 1991: Giving back as a nurse
Dorcas and her family live in Sierra Leone with Dorcas working as a Nurse, then with Catholic Relief Services. In 1980 Dorcas has a chance for further education in Canada. Her children, Hopenet and Ali, stay with Hope and Les for a year. During all these years Hope and Les and Dorcas and her family visit each other on alternate years.
1990 - 2002: Rebel war begins
Sierra Leone suffers from a terrible rebel war. In 1991 Dorcas and her two children escape Sierra Leone to live in the U.S. Husband Dan joins them a couple of years later. They all become U.S. citizens in the late 1990’s.
2002: Dorcas & family return
At the end of the war in 2002 Dorcas returns to Sierra Leone to visit to see what has happened and to reconnect with her family. Hope and Les return with a work team from Operation Classroom, a United Methodist Church program in Indiana. We find the infra-structure of Sierra Leone decimated and almost completely destroyed.
2004: NarSarah Clinic begins
Dorcas, her family, and Hope and Les decide it is time to make her high school dream a reality and CITA International is formed to develop NarSarah Clinic in Kabala, Sierra Leone. CITA is registered as a nonprofit organization in Colorado. Hope and Les begin taking work teams to Sierra Leone beginning work in Makeni, the largest town near Kabala.
2005: Open for business
NarSarah Clinic opens with two volunteer health professionals, a brother, Peacemaker, and a sister, Finah, of Dorcas. The first location is in the family home in Kabala. Support comes from family donations in the U.S. There is no local health care due to the hospital being closed during the war.
2006 & 2007: Clinic expands
Clinic is moved to a utility building next to the home of the deceased mother. Women Against Poverty (WAP) is formed in conjunction with NarSarah Clinic. WAP builds a separate building that the rapidly-growing NarSarah clinic soon moves to.
2008: Major funding allows for further expansion
A major building is started comprised of 9 rooms plus storage areas. The clinic is gaining in popularity. Major funding is provided by family members and U.S. donors.
2010: Increased functionality
The main clinic building is dedicated. Included are solar panels and batteries to provide power for night operations and the buildings on the compound, and to run equipment during the day.
2010 - 2014: NarSarah partnership
The clinic grows in patient load and gains respect of all. A new government hospital opens and NarSarah is registered as a PHC (Primary Health Care) facility. NarSarah and the Kabala Hospital develop a partnership. The Clinic staff grows and in addition to the original medical staff, it also includes a pharmacist, lab technician, community health officer, and a certified mid wife. Nearly 5,000 patients are seen annually. A guest house is built to house visiting work teams and travelers to provide income to the Clinic. A water purification plant is added to provide clean water to patients. The water becomes so popular that a water bagging machine is added to sell water in Kabala and villages thus providing income to the Clinic. A Scholarship of Hope program is started for children of employees and expanded to children of the War Amputee Camp.
2014 - 2016 - The Ebola Outbreak
Ebola prevention education is provided in small remote villages, and with the help of other community and government organizations, Ebola is kept out of Kabala. Nar Sarah plays a major role in fighting the Ebola crisis. Over $100,000 is raised in the U.S. for Nar Sarah to help fight this deadly disease. These funds help the clinic to expand and ultimately offer more services. New buildings are built including a generator building, an administrative building, a certified incinerator for medical waste, an admissions center, an isolation building for patients with transmittable diseases, and a “solar” toilet facility. A 4-wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser is provided by U.S. donors along with 5 new motor bikes to help Nar Sarah staff get to villages. “Tippy Taps” (hand washing stations) are provided in Kabala and many smaller villages. After Ebola the Scholarship of Hope program expands to approximately 120 recipients due to poverty expanded by the effects of Ebola. Children must get back in school.
2015 - 2016 - Post Ebola
SEED and Nar Sarah begin working in close cooperation and coordination with Salone Rising Salone Rising as they develop a job creation program and an orphanage for the children of Ebola victims. In approximately 2010 it was realized that many programs were being developed that were outside the scope of the health emphasis of Nar Sarah Clinic so a separate nonprofit was established, Serving Sierra Leone to work with those added programs.