We are making progress on the Three Communities Primary school project in Rogbomtama village, Port Loko district, Sierra Leone.
On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Education for Hope team had the great pleasure of formally meeting with the Sierra Leone Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens. The purpose of the meeting was to inform Ambassador Stevens of EFH work and programs in Sierra Leone. The team discussed the educational situation in Sierra Leone and highlighted its partnership with the Sierra Leone Library Board, projects completed, and ongoing projects; and also presented him with an official document acknowledging EFH as a member of the Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (SLANGO), and a copy of EFH’s 2012 official report.
Ambassador Stevens was impressed with EFH’s endeavors to support primary school education across Sierra Leone. Having worked as an academic, he expressed concerns about the literacy level among Sierra Leone’s youth. He emphasized the need for Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora in the United States to engage in development efforts back home. Lastly, he agreed to be of assistance in furthering EFH’s cause locally and in the United States. The entire Education for Hope board and staff are grateful to Ambassador Stevens for his time and genuine interest in our mission.
The Tumba Primary School held its first sporting event on February 21, 2014. It was well attended and a great success. Many thanks to the community and volunteer staff for making this event a success. The children had fun and are looking forward to the next sporting activity.
We are pleased to have received a grant from the Giving Hope Network at their annual gala last night. This grant will enable EFH to complete the first phase of the Three Communities Primary School project in Rogbantama, Sierra Leone. Many thanks to Michael Szot and the GHN Board for making this possible.
On Saturday, December 15, 2013, EFH broke ground on the Three Communities Primary School project. It was very exciting to see the elders, men, women, and children who showed up and participated in this ground-breaking event—a total community effort. The women fetched and carried water and the men were actively involved in mixing and carrying concrete, sticks, stones, and cement, and laying out the foundation, while the elders assisted in many ways—preparing food and serving drinking water to the workers.
The Three Communities residents were very excited and hopeful and look forward to the completion of their first-ever primary school to give their children the ability to read and write and thus chart their own destiny.
EFH continues to support the Tumba Primary School, its first constructed school. There has been an increase in enrollment since the school was completed, and children from surrounding villages also attend the school.
On Thursday, December 12, 2013, EFH donated sport packs each containing a dictionary, notebooks, and pencils to the 68 pupils and 3 teachers of the Tumba Primary School. The donation was well received and appreciated by the community. The EFH team informed the community elders that they need to continue to support the school and the teachers.
The National School for the Deaf was founded in 1965 by the Sierra Leone Society for the Deaf. It is a voluntary and non-governmental organization. This organization depends mainly on charity and has little support from the government. The school is non-residential and is located at Wilkinson Road .
The aims and objectives of the school are to help the deaf children be part of the society in which they live and to have as normal a life as possible within the community, thereby encouraging them to use whatever little hearing they have in order to acquire language and education and have a vocation.
The school is a nonresidential coeducational special day school and includes preschool to class six as well as a small vocational workshop for children who do not excel academically. Children are taught all subjects as in a regular school but with Sign Language and Speech included to meet their challenging needs. After 2 years of class six work, they take the National Primary School Examination and go to the mainstream school to continue their secondary education (the teachers in the mainstream schools usually do not have expertise in teaching deaf children).
In Sierra Leone, deafness is one of the disabilities that is usually ignored or, rather, to which little or no attention is paid, while other disabilities are given maximum attention. Deafness in most cases is associated with other physical disabilities like lack of speech, brain injury, etc. Due to the invisibility of this disability, it is referred to as the unseen handicap, thus it creates less attention and interest, especially in Sierra Leone society. Most of the children are from poor homes and find themselves plagued with many problems over the years.
The National School for the Deaf is faced with many challenges including a lack of school materials. On Tuesday, December 11, 2013, EFH donated 50 sport packs, each containing a dictionary, notebooks, and pencils, to girls at the National School for the Deaf. The staff and girls were very grateful and appreciative of the donation and kindly asked the EFH team to consider them for future donations.
EFH continues its partnership with the Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB). On December 3, 2013, EFH presented the dictionaries donated by the Dictionary Project as well as fiction and nonfiction books to the Chief Librarian of the Sierra Leone Library, Mr. Salieu Turay, to seven primary schools, and to the Peace Corps. The SLLB will distribute these dictionaries to libraries across the country, the Peace Corps will give the dictionaries to their volunteers to be used in the various schools where they teach, and the primary schools will make these dictionaries accessible to their pupils.
In addition, the Chief Librarian gave the EFH management team a tour of the central library. The central library is undergoing major improvements—installation of air conditioning and localized WiFi, repainting of the entire structure, digital archiving of publications, and installation of new furniture. The EFH team was very pleased with the continuous improvement of the central library and of libraries across the country and pledged to continue its partnership and support of SLLB initiatives and projects.
SLANGO is the governing body of all Non-Governmental Organizations in Sierra Leone, and EFH has fulfilled all the registration requirements and is now a registered and certified nonprofit organization in Sierra Leone. Therefore, EFH is certified to perform work in health and educational sectors in Sierra Leone.
On December 2, 2013, the EFH management team presented its 2012 annual report and donated dictionaries to the Director of SLANGO, Ms. Shellac Davies, at their headquarters in Tenbegh Town, Freetown.
On November 26, 2013, the Education for Hope (EFH) management team presented its 2012 annual report to the Hon. Osmond Hanciles, Deputy Minister 1, Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MEST), Sierra Leone. After the presentation, the EFH team had a meaningful discussion with the Minister and will be working closely with MEST as we develop and implement programs across the country.