Sierra Leone is home to over 20% of the world’s amputees plus tens of thousands polio victims – a sobering reminder of their recent 10+ year Civil War. When The Peace Project's founder visited Sierra Leone in 2010, she witnessed people crawling on the ground because they couldn't afford a pair of crutches and thought "What can we do?". Operation Rise was born with an extraordinary goal to get 10,000 of Sierra Leone’s amputees, war victims and children back on their feet on one day by providing crutches and other mobility devices on World Peace Day, September 21, 2011, in an effort we dubbed Operation Rise.
One of the first steps towards sustainable peace is the ability to provide for oneself -- personal mobility is key in that. As importantly, we believed that an effort of this size (which we implemented by developing an incredible network of NGOs including UNICEF, local advocacy groups, medical professionals, war victims and concerned citizens) would engage and inspire people worldwide to believe that significant change is possible when people believe, join together, and take action.