It is one of the biggest milestones since the Desert Flower Foundation was established. At the weekend Kiera Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin and great-granddaughter of Nobel literature prize winner Eugene O'Neill, opened the first "Desert Flower School" in Sierra Leone (West Africa) for 400 children. The entire community, including four ministers, dozens of journalists and hundreds of enthusiastic people, was on its feet - the opening was a huge celebration!
Two strong women, one common goal. Education is the key in the fight against the horrible crime of female genital mutilation (FGM). Kiera Chaplin has been supporting Waris Diries Desert Flower Foundation since March 2019 and is president of the "Fondation Fleur du Désert" in France. "Africa suffers from a blatant education crisis", says Kiera Chaplin. "34 percent of Africa's 1.2 billion people cannot read or write. Women and girls are particularly affected. Anyone who wants to help Africa in the long term, to do something about the growing poverty, the escalating population explosion and against the unfortunately still widespread female genital mutilation, must invest in education.
Sierra Leone is particularly affected by the African education crisis after the cruel civil war over "blood diamonds" (1991 to 2002) and the terrible Ebola epidemic (2014 to 2016). 70 percent of the children in the country do not attend school. Our first "Kiera Chaplin Desert Flower School" is located 30 kilometers south of the capital Freetown, in River Number 2, a community of 1,200 people. There was no school far and wide in the surrounding area, the children simply had no chance to attend school.
This has now changed abruptly!
Kiera's new mission. "This is now my new personal mission and I will build more Desert Flower schools with my friend Waris Dirie and the Desert Flower Foundation", Kiera Chaplin proudly reveals. "Already by the end of February we will open two more schools for a total of 800 children in Sierra Leone." Kiera Chaplin is acting in the spirit of her world famous and unforgettable grandfather Charlie Chaplin. "My grandfather himself had a very difficult childhood in London and little access to education. It was very important to him that his children and grandchildren get good schools. He has been my guardian angel since I was a child, and I know that as a guardian angel he also watches over my school and the many wonderful children."