This project was the first of Aid Pioneers e.V.’s three projects that have so far been carried out in Sierra Leone and it was initialised by partnering up with the Sierra Leone Hockey Trust, an NGO that works together with communities to provide a safe environment for sports to children and young adults.
It all started with a conversation between two friends…One of the co-founders of the Belgian NGO Sierra Leone Hockey Trust had spoken to one of our Aid Pioneers and told them that their own NGO was having difficulties transporting hockey equipment. As we are focused on efficient and fast logistics solutions, we were convinced that we could help. But before we started the cooperation, we wanted to know why we should send hockey equipment to one of the poorest countries in the world?
Although essential goods are probably more needed in Sierra Leone than hockey equipment, we realised that sport could be a place of refuge for many people, where they can escape from everyday life. Sierra Leone Hockey Trust works with communities to provide equipment, develop infrastructure, and facilitate knowledge transfer from European hockey clubs and players to Sierra Leone. As the only thing the club was missing was transport from Belgium to Sierra Leone, we wanted to help with our knowledge and expertise.
So, we set up a team of 7 people who organised the transport of the hockey equipment to Sierra Leone within 4-5 weeks. We set up a partnership with Brussels Airlines and after pitching them the idea, we were able to fly the equipment from Belgium to Sierra Leone. With a total of 9 flights, we were able to contribute to children and young adults having a place of refuge. Between March and June 2021 we gave 1000 children in Sierra Leone the ability to train and play hockey: we sent 247 hockey sticks, 30 sports bags, 28 parcels containing other hockey equipment, such as goalie kits and protective gear, general sporting gear (shirts, shorts, shoes, etc.).
Furthermore, the Sierra Leone Hockey Trust were able to secure a second hand hockey pitch but were lacking a way to transport it, so we also managed to ship this to Freetown.