St Joseph’s was established in 1979 and started out with just eight students and two teachers. In 1986, the school accepted its first boarders, initially taking just 15 girls and 20 boys.
Sierra Leone’s civil war broke out in 1991and lasted for a decade. Despite violence in other parts of the country, the school was largely able to carry on as usual until 1998, when rebels came to Makeni. As the fighting approached, school was cancelled; boarding students left to live with their families and administrators fled to Freetown. The abandoned school building was ransacked and destroyed by the rebels. The UN later took over the building, using it to house peacekeepers and to store equipment.
Violence in Sierra Leone finally subsided with the signing of the Lome peace agreement in 2001. Shortly after, St Joseph’s leaders returned from Freetown and began the slow process of rebuilding the school. St Joseph’s has continued to expand, taking on more students and staff and continuing to provide its teachers with special training. Today the school’s enrolment has grown to an all-time high of over 250 students, over 90 of whom are boarders. The school welcomes all hearing impaired children regardless of religion.