Who we are

We provide sustainable medical care and education to support communities in Sierra Leone.

Constructed in 2009, Yonibana Sai Hospital is a fully-equipped hospital with theatre, dental room and optical service. It is the only hospital in Sierra Leone that offers treatment and surgeries completely free of charge to anyone who walks through its doors. Each medical department is headed by a senior UK Medical Consultant.

“Our ethos is based on: Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

“We create series of lots of little acts of love. If you put all those acts of sacrifice together, it creates a beautiful thing.”

Devi Patel, Founder and Managing Director, Better Lives Foundation

Where is Yonibana?

The Yoni area located in Tonkolli District (Sierra Leone) has a population of over 112,000 people. There are 360 villages in the area.

Our outreach teams visit the villages in rotation and refer anyone who is unwell back to Yonibana Sai Hospital. The hospital serves the area as well as patients from neighbouring areas, as it is the only hospital in the country serving local communities completely free of charge.

Key milestones

Select a year from the timeline below and check out our key milestones using the arrows.

  1. 2006

    First medical camp in Yonibana Secondary School. 5,600 patients were treated.

  2. 2007

    Accident victims brought to camp as no medical facilities nearby. Patients that were severely injured were stabilised, treated and transported to Freetown.

  3. 2008

    Acquired 25-acre site and began construction of Yonibana Sai Hospital

  4. 2009

    Better Lives Foundation was established as an official charity. Hospital and guest house was ready to serve

  5. 2010

    Started three camps a year with eye and hernia surgeries

  6. 2012

    Education sponsorship started

  7. 2013

    Start of our agricultural program

  8. 2014

    Ebola outbreak: nearly 4,000 deaths. Sierra Leone was worst hit country. Hospital had to close its doors for two years.

  9. 2016

    Approved ( non-governmental organisation (NGO) status by Sierra Leone authority. Reconnected with Njala Medical University.

  10. 2017

    Hospital opened full-time, as 65% of students qualified and return to be employed at our hospital​

  11. 2018

    First baby delivered at Yonibana Sai Hospital. Baby was named ‘Devi’ (after our founder), weighing in at a healthy 7lbs!

  12. 2019

    • Became 2nd largest rice farm in Yonibana thanks to our agricultural programme • Installation of solar panels to serve the hospital and guest house • Weekly malnourishment support clinic started • Voted best NGO • Appointed our first Patron, Ishver Patel MBE • Received special recognition award by Yoni Excellence Award Committee • Foday Salam Fofanah, Country Director selected to pursue surgery with Capacare

  13. 2020

    Hospital continues to operate 24/7 throughout the Covid-19 period. Outreach team visited villages to brief everyone on Infection Prevention Control protocols and staying safe. Donated 14 hand wash stations to villages. ​Yoni Excellence Award Committee Award Dr Foday as Young Professional of the Year and Male Medical Officer of the Year

  14. 2021

    • 108 Disabled and vulnerable families received food parcels in Sierra Leone quarterly​ • Launched the Holding Hands Project in the UK. Supporting local schools by providing foodbank services to 400 vulnerable children and families. • Organised an online conference in collaboration with British Association of Social Workers - 500 attendees. • Malnourishment clinic attracting 14-17 infants weekly after Covid-19 increased the condition. • Received special recognition award from Yoni Excellence Award Committee.

  15. 2022

    • Start of hospital expansion project with installation of a manual brick making machine. First handmade eco-friendly brick made from soil on site.

    - Construction of two new wards

    • Marked the centre point of the site as per the concept master plan

    • Visit by Dr David Kamara, President of the Sierra Leone Medical & Dental Council & Mr Reynold Senesi, WHO Representative for Oral Health in Sierra Leone​

    • Meeting Various Minister including Hon Princess Dogba, Deputy Minister of Health & Sanitation

    • Dr Foday & Dr Alicious finishing 2022 with conducting a further 180 surgeries for men women and children​.

Meet the community changing lives

We're nothing without the passionate people who drive our work behind the scenes.

Check out our annual reports