On Mr Harald’s initial visit to Masanga, Northern Sierra Leone in 1988, he was confronted with patients suffering from not only Leprosy but also Poliomyelitus.
At that time, there were approximately 3,000 people living with polio in Sierra Leone. During the civil war, many had fled to Freetown where they had no means, no food and no medical assistance provided to them by the Government.
In order to keep this very vulnerable population out of the streets where most of them survived by begging, there was an urgent need to provide a safe environment for them.
An association was created by the patients themselves called ”Polio Victims Association”. Several members asked to return to Makeni where Mr Harald helped them to buy a piece of land next to Magbenteh Community Hospital in 2002.
Financial support for the project was found and it was decided to build a “Polio Village” with not only housing facilities but also a number of workshops, to gain their autonomy.
In 2008 the village was inaugurated by His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone.