Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I think Father Christmas has been.......

Christmas Eve celebration in the library before bedtime for little people.
Full fat socks everywhere.
And more and more of them.....
Somebody's been busy tonight.
ABJ has found something with his name on it.
Tee getting to the bottom of his sock.
When we sent home all those that had another home to go to, we found we still had quite a houseful for Christmas.  There were 50+ of us celebrating together but Father Christmas managed to get to everyone.

Simple pleasures!

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jennifer too.....and in style!

Jennifer Thomas, left EducAid in 2006 and
graduated Dec 2010 from Fourah Bay College, Freetown.
While Moses has stayed at the heart of EducAid throughout his studies, Jennifer lived in her family home and was not so frequently to be seen.

It is great though to see that, despite all the enormous pressures against girls and women pursuing an education, some of our EducAid girls are starting to come out at the top end of the system too.

Jennifer Thomas graduated on the same day as Moses with a first class Economics degree; the first woman to have achieved such a distinction in ten years.

We congratulate her on her achievement and wish her all success in the future.  May she put her newly found knowledge to great effect and be part of the battle for change across this nation.  If the economics of Sierra Leone are allowed to function in transparency, we will indeed see the progress we all desire.

Congratulations Jennifer.  Well done and keep up the fight.  The EducAid girls following in your footsteps need you as a role model.  Please don't forget them.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another one takes to the road but differently!

Richard Johnson, frequent visitor to Sierra Leone for work purposes, has been supporting EducAid in many ways over the last few years.

This time he is hot footing it round Edinburgh on our behalf.
Have a look at his webpage:

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Monday, December 13, 2010

Musa hits the road but Moses is at the end of his journey!

The ceremonies begin.

Carried away by his excited EducAid colleagues.

Mammy Yabundu (Alhassan's mother) with one of her many adopted children.

One proud Moses!

A well-earned party!

Queueing to receive their reward.
Moses, founder pupil of EducAid as of September 2000, has graduated.  This achievement represents the most extraordinary battle with corruption and incompetence that boggle any mind used to tertiary institutions elsewhere.

Independent observers have examined Moses' work and considered him worthy of a first in your average British university but, unwilling to bribe his way through, Moses has struggled to the last to be awarded his degree.  Only 9 out of the original 48 in the class made it through.  In any other establishment, such a record would mean the teacher got the sack.  Not in Sierra Leone.

Moses more than deserves his degree and we wish him every success in all his plans for the future.  He is keen to use his opportunities to be part of the change.  May there be many to stand beside him and bring the desperately needed integrity to this suffering nation.

Great thanks go too, to those who have financially supported Moses through thick and thin.  All Moses' abilities would have been wasted without their generosity and love.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Saturday, December 11, 2010

And another one takes to the road!

Musa Koroma, former EducAid student won a scholarship to go to study engineering in Russia some months ago.  It has been an almighty challenge to get from that point to the point of actual departure never mind arrival in situ.

After endless delays due to diplomatic problems between the two governments, numerous additional charges to ensure his place not being lost and then en route [via Egypt! where his laptop got smashed and he was forced to use most of his small cash supply to buy a return ticket in order to avoid deportation back to Sierra Leone] Musa has now arrived in Veronish, Russia.

He is due to learn Russian for 6 months and then to settle in to engineering studies in his newly acquired language.  Some good news is that a former EducAid teacher has gone ahead of him and is doing his masters studies in Moscow and has taken a hand in looking after him and also a young Angolan student is sharing his room with him and seems ready to protect his interests too.  

This is clearly an amazing opportunity for Musa if he can get through these very difficult early stages.  He leaves behind the extraordinarily corrupt Sierra Leonean tertiary system and can look forward to acquiring a genuine and genuinely useful qualification.

Great thanks go to Musa's British sponsors who continue to cover half of his costs in order to make this opportunity possible.  This represents a significant commitment and generosity.

We wish Musa all the very best and all courage as he goes into this new challenge, opportunity and cultural shock!  Musa comes originally from a small village in the far east of Sierra Leone.  Since his father died, the rest of his family have disowned him.  It is only his education that will enable him to stand alone and make a life for himself, overcoming the poverty of his origins.

Musa full of a mixture of excitement and trepidation, takes his leave of staff and students on the day of his departure.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans please go to 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Amae Creation supports EducAid Sierra Leone

Great thanks and appreciation go to my French cousin by marriage, Caroline Rittener.  Caroline is the creative spirit and brain behind Amae Creation [website:].  

Caroline's new enterprise is in Spain but she is also keen to ensure that she has a positive impact elsewhere too.  Amae donates 5€ to Educaid Sierra Leone for each of the beautiful Luna pendants that are sold. 
If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans please go to: 

Friday, November 26, 2010

A flavour of life at EducAid Lumley.

French / British lawyer, Marie-Aimée, has just got back to the UK after a stint in Sierra Leone working on Justice Sector Reform.  (There is, as I am sure you can imagine, significant need for it!)

She has done some fantastic work with the girls looking at self-esteem and how it can affect their relationships.  She has also spent time with the whole school working on how the law works in a democracy.  

Her photos are on the link below and give a great taste of life around the Lumley School.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoenans, please go to:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

20 things you wouldn't do!

......unless it was for a good cause!

Alex Ehegartner [head of citizenship at Stockport Grammar School] and for mysterious reasons, otherwise known as Mister E, had groups of youngsters hurtling round the place, making large amounts of noise and mess and raising equally large amounts of money for EducAid.

SGS have been supporting EducAid for over 3 years now.  Alex himself has visited Sierra Leone with his wife.  This year they more than doubled their last year's output and raised over £5000.

They managed to rope in two other schools: Stockport School and Harrytown RC School.  Harrytown walked away with the honours and beat the other teams hands down.

Congratulations goes to everyone involved.

Have a look at their antics on Youtube:

They were fishing for beads in custard, bobbing for boiled eggs in basins of water, mummifying each other with toilet paper - eurggh!  But.....all in a very good cause!

Many thanks and good luck for the next round!

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work in Sierra Leone, please go to:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Grand Opening

This week, on a hot, humid and sunny morning in Port Loko the Furlonge EducAid Senior Secondary School was opened.

Peter Furlonge who, with his brother, had financed the construction, came specially with some friends and colleagues from the UK to officially open the new senior secondary school which has been built on the same site as the junior secondary school.

The students had prepared powerpoint presentations in their various clubs: The Virtual Palaeontologists, The Virtual Explorers, The Believers in Action, The Scientists, The Girl Power Group, The Librarians and so on. The White Ribbon Campaign signed all the men up for the international campaign for men against violence against women.  The Mathemagicians explained all their maths games and the drama group put on a mini play about the importance of educating girls. A couple of keen science students did some practical demonstrations in the science lab. &....there were brief and encouraging speeches from the key players: the donor of the land [generally known as HK], the donor of the construction money [Peter], and the conduit for the money - CEO of Children in Crisis [Koy Thompson].

The Ministry of Education were not represented. Would it by cynical to wonder if this is because of the lack of income likely to be derived, for anyone within the ministry, from a free school??? The opening ceremonies of private schools are usually fairly well attended by MoE officials!

The ceremony as such was very informal and the overall effect was pleasing. The students were inspirational in their enthusiasm for education and the confidence with which they spoke. The visitors seemed pleased with all they saw and have indicated a desire for on-going involvement in the project.

Staff and students worked hard behind the scenes to get the displays and presentations ready and indeed, sweeping and painting and clearing the building. Congratulations to all involved.

The first floor of the new building is finished. We plan to go up another floor before roofing and to establish the whole site as a centre of excellence for secondary teaching that teachers from all over the district can come and visit. Our dreams for Rolal and the community are many and we hope that, through the powerful tool that is education, real and sustainable prosperity may be achieved for this community and beyond.

Georgie cuts the ribbon and officially opens the school.

Rupert, Georgie and Stefan observing the science practicals.

Peter, conscious of the importance of ICT for real education, was delighted to find computers in use in the new school.
Koy enjoying a game of 'Trilemma' with the Mathemagicians, a short time before he explained his vision of Sierra Leone in 20 years time with a female president who would have been educated in the Furlonge EducAid Senior Secondary School.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable Sierra Leoneans please go to

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A battle for the mind

There are large numbers of Sierra Leonean youngsters who were taken off into the war and forced to do unspeakable things and who are still suffering from the effects.

The majority get little help beyond the long finished 6 month official disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation programmes. Equally, most go on into life with many key issues never having been addressed, living in the margins of society in and out of crime and detention.

We see some of our youngsters grasp the opportunity of education as a means out of their old lifestyle and a way of putting their old life behind them but for others there is a psychological battle that is much harder than just learning to read and write.

I had a heart-breaking conversation with one of our young men the other day. He has come on in leaps and bounds from when he first came to us. He was a tough cookie who kept himself to himself. It always seemed to me that he was on rebel alert at all times. You could imagine him, at the drop of a hat, taking off with his ever present rucksack on his back, never to be seen again.

His academic progress has been good and he has sat the first round of public exams but then seemed to come to a stand still.

It has taken some time for us to realise that a significant part of the problem is that he knows what he has done. He knows how terrible the things are that he did. He knows that many people would judge him as beyond hope, if they knew the things he has done. He himself is finding it all but impossible to see himself in any other light than as the perpetrator of terrible deeds.

This young man, at the age of ten, watched his friends being shot in front of him for crying and for refusing to take a gun. Yet, he cuts himself no slack for the conditions under which he agreed to fight and can not forgive himself. He sees himself as 'that sort of person' now. I found myself pleading with him to think back to who he was and how he was, before the war and to acknowledge that he was not always so. I pleaded with him to allow himself to move on and see himself in a different light, to believe he could leave that behind and be true to his real self which does not like violence.

It has become slowly clear that the self-perception of many of these young ex-combatants is generally the greatest barrier to progress for them. He is doing well so far. He has shown great determination to persist in his studies and become someone new but the battle is not over for him yet. He fears the judgement of others and still judges himself. The whole international community judges child fighters as victims of war. Let it be hoped that he too will allow himself some peace and start to see him as I see him: a young man of resilience and courage who has overcome appalling violence and trauma and who has dared to grow in new ways and take hold of new opportunities. On this more positive view, there will surely be a foundation for the building of something great.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans please go to

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The young entrepreneurs

Rightly proud of their achievement!
Another happy Maronka tale...

Maronka continues to be a community where everyone can do their best. We started a primary school, pretty much by mistake, some six years ago when we gave the chief some blackboards and chalk to start some alphabet classes for the little ones who were to small to walk to the nearby government school. Now we run a school for 120+ children from around the whole area and further afield.

We have taken over 20 children from all sorts of difficult backgrounds and the staff team [nearly all our ex-students] and the chief, Obai Santigie, with the village community, raise them as their own. Little by little, we have seen some really awkward children be turned round and enabled to become their 'best selves'.

Across the country, the culture of dependence and helplessness has been generated by the omnipresence of the International NGOs [non governmental organisations - what we used to call charities]. In contrast, education is a key development and empowerment activity and can undermine this tendency.

I came across an admirable sign of enterprise the other day: a couple of the lads who have been through the primary school and are now making their way each day to the secondary school in Rolal [3 miles away] have taken things into their own hands. They are neither of them particularly academic but the whole atmosphere in EducAid is so positive and supportive that whatever your skills and abilities they are recognised and encouraged. Off their own bat, these two have made enough charcoal and sold it to buy themselves bikes which they now use to reduce the trek to school.

This is a great sign for their future survival and their willingness to help themselves. All they needed was a helping hand to stand up. Well done both!

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just another weekend in Sierra Leone

Jimiyke in serious discomfort in the Connaught hospital, almost certainly due to the misjudgement of the doctors who took care of him in Freetown last year; picking up the pieces after Macsud's death last week - e.g. checking on little 'Hip-Hop' who was with him when he died and who suffers equally from sickle cell himself; a fire due to bad electrical connections at the Magbeni school....and all this alongside two big celebrations.

It seems to me that this must be key to the extraordinary spirit of resilience here in Sierra Leone. Right along with all the disasters - the hardest you can imagine - there is still an ability to celebrate the good and recognise opportunities for hope.
Jimiyke - in hospital but in good spirits despite his discomfort.
Jimiyke has had a really tough 18 months, having nearly died of probable TB last year, and having been treated with only half the treatment [good old Sierra Leonean doctors!] he has had a serious relapse and with an abscess putting pressure on his spinal cord, has had partial loss of the use of his legs. He is in hospital again and back on the TB drugs which are expected to have an impact on his legs in the next couple of weeks. The Connaught Hospital is the most depressing place imaginable, though. He has seen 4 men die in his ward since he was admitted 10 days ago.
Young Macsud, who died 2 weeks ago.
Macsud's friends and family are obviously still very conscious of his loss 2 weeks ago and the complete futility of his death at such a young age but they battle on with their own lives and commit to continuing his fight for progress and against corruption in his name.

Magbeni nearly lost their entire building due to some sparks from a bad electrical connection in the store, on a bag of charcoal with drops of fuel all around!! Two bikes were lost but not a lot else, thanks to the immediate action of the staff team and students when they realised there was a problem.
Might not look that bad now but I think we were very lucky it was not a lot worse, and it would have been if it had been left any longer.
And amongst all of this, EducAid celebrated its 10th birthday and opened a new school!
EducAid has been contracted to run a school near Waterloo for 'A Call to Business' in Rogbere.
The British High Commissioner attending the EducAid 10th birthday Open Day and talking to some of the group 2+ students.
The science students displaying their investigating abilities during the Open Day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And in stark contrast, some unexpected good news!

Augustine Bundor, doctor in training.

Two years in a row, we have had young medical students [EducAid graduates], who we knew to be excellent and diligent, kicked out of the medical college at the point of entry into the medical school proper i.e. after 2 very expensive but obligatory preparatory years.

No questions were permitted as to the reasons for their failure and it was clear that there had been some very untoward playing with the results of various of their classmates. There has been a change in personnel at the top end of the administration of the college, with two heads of the institution being investigated on corruption charges.

Today, against our greatest fears, we have the very exciting news that Augustine has crossed that hurdle and has passed with 2 distinctions, 1 credit and 1 pass. Let's hope he will be allowed to continue through to the end now and will be able to play the role he so desires in bringing changes to the medical situation in the country.

Congratulations Augustine! We wish you every success in your on-going studies!

For a little more about Augustine please go to:

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Macsud Bangura [RIP]

This is a photo of Macsud's 'lifeline' constructed by him in November 2008. The rocks indicate the hard things. The flowers indicate the happy things. The green rope indicates the passing of time. Clearly life had been getting better. Now it has been prematurely cut short.

Early this morning, Macsud Bangura [16] died, it appears, of a sickle cell crisis that affected his chest and he stopped breathing. Could anything more have been done for him? We will probably never know. This is Sierra Leone. He will be buried this afternoon.

An intelligent young man full of potential, who was committed not only to his studies but to being part of the solution and the transformation of this country. He was a member of a number of clubs and societies in the school, particularly noteworthy and poignant is his active participation in the 'Leaders in Training' group.

May God give him 'good road.' May God console his family and friends.

May we who are left behind continue to fight for justice and equality here.

If you wish to know more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Worth all the hard work!

The WASSCE results are out.

Sierra Leonean students sit NPSE at the end of primary school, BECE at the end of Junior Secondary School [Key Stage 3 equivalent] and WASSCE at the end of Senior Secondary School [i.e. university entrance qualifying exams].

In general, the pass rates across the country are more than dismal. On average, countrywide, 40% pass the BECE and only 17% of candidates achieve a pass in the WASSCE. It is against this background that we are able to proudly announce that, once again, 100% of EducAid's candidates have passed their WASSCE. [We are still waiting for the BECE results.]

The reason we are particularly proud of this persistent achievement is that our students are youngsters who are, in every way, fighting on the back foot. Most of them pursue their education against a back drop of really difficult family and home circumstances. Most of them have had several years out of education for lack of fees, because of the war or due to other family priorities etc... Most of them know that, without an education, their chances on controlling their own lives are almost zero.

Yahyah, thinking his way through his physics practical exam. All well worth the effort today as he receives the good news.

Yahyah A Kamara's result is especially noteworthy. He has achieved 9 credits out of 9. A fantastic achievement! We wish him every success in his future endeavours and we very much hope that it will be possible to find sponsorship for him to continue his studies. He is at present serving as a junior member of staff in one of the EducAid schools and is helping other youngsters access meaningful education.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Man City Blues supporters visit EducAid

Tony Griffiths, long term supporter of EducAid, has been back in Freetown for the first time in some years visiting the Manchester City supporters' club here.

Tony introduced some of his team to EducAid. Here is the report of their visit.

After their eye-opening / eye watering experience, let's hope our relationship with them will continue to blossom!

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable Sierra Leoneans please go to

Friday, September 3, 2010

Go Girls Go!

Jess Broadhurst [long time EducAid supporter] and her friend Lorna are in action: Land's End to John O Groats raising funds for EducAid.

Fantastic job!

Greatly appreciated.

Have a look at what they are up to on their blog:

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A little oasis of education in a scholastic desert

A big cleaning and organising task, sorting construction and other toys for the resource library.
Making sure that the education that goes on inside our new building is just as excellent as the building itself.
The North of Sierra Leone has traditionally neglected education in favour of trade. The main towns of Kambia, Makeni and Port Loko have few schools offering what we might recognise as a good education. Although there are pockets of teachers of good will striving to do their best against incredible odds, no-one has given them access to updated thinking or materials for many moons, if ever. The result is that, at all levels, the quality of what is on offer leaves a lot to be desired. It is not even an aim or an issue to be developing creative, independent thinkers and learners.

Training of the primary school staff in Maronka has started and we are seeing some real improvements in teaching and learning.

We have also started offering this training to a few other teachers in the Port Loko district and are putting in place a significant resource library.

Materials donated and purchased from the UK that can be used to develop our students' creativity, strategic and critical thinking, imaginations as well as literacy, numeracy and independence are available for some of the poorest children in the world. There seems no good reason why they too should not access what we would take for granted in a school in the west.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans please go to

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

UK volunteers getting stuck in

In height order...Flex, Alice, Becky and Kofi.
All the rice is gone anyway!
Flex and Becky have got stuck in to life in Magbeni. Although the staff and students are very welcoming, it is not as easy as it sounds. Magbeni in rainy season is even more cut off than it usually is. There is no internet connection and no phone coverage unless you trek up the hill half an hour. The 5 mile long road from the tarmac main highway is a muddy track which is all but unpassable in anything other than a 4 x 4 for great stretches.

James Burnford is a returnee, having spent a term in Magbeni last year. He too is back into action and apparently enjoying all the challenges once more.

They are working hard with the provisional exam group, the Women's Project and as many others as they can squeeze in. Most of their attention goes on literacy but there are opportunities for creativity with murals on the classroom walls, drama productions and talent shows.

They are doing a great job and are very much appreciated by all. Shame [from our point of view at least : )] that they won't be staying for longer!

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans please go to

Monday, August 16, 2010

A suitable and long-lasting memorial

Oil palm seedling.
Coconut seedlings breaking through the undergrowth.

There was much generosity shown last year when people gathered in the UK for a memorial mass after Alhassan died. A significant amount of money was donated to EducAid in his memory. I have been searching for an appropriate way of using the money that will suitably uphold his beliefs and hopes and keep his memory alive.

Alhassan was very fond of the village, Maronka, where our little primary school is located. He was proud of the progress that had been made there and was very much loved by the chief and community. He was also unusual for his culture in his concern to see women's progress and dignity upheld. We have decided that one way of recognising these things and that work in harmony with all we are trying to achieve in assisting the youngsters in this community would be to use the money to help the women in the Maronka community with the development of a plantation. Accordingly, 110 coconut seedlings and 96 oil palm seedlings were planted last week. We are also optimistic that Maronka will be included in a new project growing Moringa for the export market.
Moringa seeds - the beginnings of a new venture.
Moringa seedlings - the miracle plant which cures so many ills.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable Sierra Leoneans please go to

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just so we are clear......

Just so we are clear that the work is all there to be done still.... there is no justice, there is no equal access to health care. The work ahead to achieve 21st century standards of human rights is enormous.

e.g. Mammy Yabundu, Alhassan's mother - a very unusual 70+ [no-one really knows her age - least of all her!] has buried two husbands, both her sons, two of her daughters in their infancy and her 2 year old grandson some ten years ago. She is a tough cookie. She prays her 5 daily prayers. She scolds and grumbles at the school kids who 5 years ago invaded her life and is number one advocate for mercy when anyone of them gets themselves in trouble. The day before Alhassan's first anniversary she also lost her first grandson, aged 31. What did he die of? A pain in his chest! More than that is anyone's guess.

While we quietly get on with grieving for Alhassan's absence, around us there are endless stories of loss and suffering: young parents leaving their children, young men and women leaving their families without the breadwinner, young healthy women dying in childbirth and so on.

Until there is an educated population that can hold their doctors and nurses to account we will continue to see these events as daily normality. We continue the battle and so long as we are clear that when we educate we involve ourselves in a battle, maybe we will start to see some progress.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans please go to

Thursday, August 5, 2010

1 year today from when I lost my beloved Alhassan

Many happy memories of our little rainbow family.

1 year ago today, I was woken at 4 by Alhassan feeling unwell and wanting me to bring food. Reassured by the doctor that they would take care of him and he was fine, I went back to sleep. 2 hours later, the other doctor called, knowing that I am the driver, asking if there was someone who could drive me in.

Now, it feels like years and years since I held Alhassan for the last time, his body still warm but all life gone. A terrible painful unforgettable moment.

Since then, on so many occasions, I have turned to tell him something, or to phone him, to share a joke, a concern, a fear..... It used to take my breath away all over again when I would realise once more that it could never be again. It has been like learning to breathe again. I am learning though and thanks to the great love and support of so many, we have been able to keep moving forwards, and furthering a cause that Alhassan was so proud to be involved in.

Alhassan was a very special man, with a love for life and a love for people that made him beloved by so many. I may not have considered myself fortunate this time last year but I know now that I was lucky to have had him and be loved by him, even if our time together was so short.

I will never forget him. I will never stop loving him. It will be a while before my tears are completely dried. I believe I am not alone. He was brother, father and friend to so many. Kofi, without whom I would have been so lost this year, is the most special gift from him I could ever have.

To all the students, staff, and friends who loved and appreciated Alhassan and who, with me, miss him still now, Kofi and I extend our thanks for all your support, strength and love. May we all continue, faithful to his memory, to fight for a just and peaceful Sierra Leone where every life has value and where death is kept for the very old and for unavoidable disasters.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Justice Salone style

The two faces of the poverty in Sierra Leone - the lack of health care and the lack of justice.

We are conscious of the battering ram of needless deaths which demonstrate all too ably the terrible state of health care in Sierra Leone. Here are a couple of examples of the appalling state of justice:

15 year old girl [she had her birthday a couple of weeks ago] taken from her family in Guinea by an aunt who had no children of her own and wanted to raise her. After some time the aunt got fed up with paying school fees for her and set her to work, despite her previous promises to the girl's parents. After trying for many weeks to persuade her aunt, the girl, in desperation, stole Le200,000 [approx £40] to pay for her fees and to buy some books [she still has all the receipts.]
The aunt discovered the loss and took her to the police, accused her of stealing Le800,000 and told the police to lock her up.
Whenever her case comes up in court the aunt refuses to attend the session. The court is so ineffective that they have not issued a subpoena. 'Defence for Children International' [DCI] whose work it is to protect children in conflict with the law, have shown no interest in her case at all and 4 months later she is still in prison because she had the audacity to want an education despite being a girl in Sierra Leone.

Middle aged mother of three [aged six, twelve and seventeen] comes from Guinea to Sierra Leone to visit family and undertake some trading. The police do a raid of the area she is staying in and fail to catch the marijuana traders so collect anyone they can to satisfy their bosses that they have not been sleeping. She has no lawyer, no powerful friends and no justice. She has been given a twenty year sentence and has not seen her children for years.

Justice is imperfect in all countries. In Sierra Leone, it is non-existent.

EducAid hopes to be able to help by a. providing classes to the women while they are in custody [contracted by AdvocAid]; b. providing a home and education for the 15 year old as soon as a means can be found to get her discharged; c. providing a home and education to the children of the 2nd woman so that she has at least some peace of mind as to her children's future while she is not there to protect them.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The beginning of a dream being fulfilled.

Interactive games for literacy learning.
The teachers engage with a range of activities that they will be able to take back into class.
Enjoying testing and timing each other.
Long and short vowels games.

In February this year Forut handed over a beautiful new school building to EducAid in Maronka. A dream was born. EducAid has traditionally focused on secondary education but it has become very clear over the years that the needs at primary level too are very real in terms of quality thinking education. We decided to start to work on really ensuring that the quality of the education we provide in Maronka was just as beautiful as the building in which it takes place. Our hope was that we could start providing some training for nearby teachers from other primary schools and that Maronka could serve as a centre of excellence.

We have not finished all that we need to do to make this a reality but we have started. Teachers came from 3 other schools and joined the Maronka teachers and started a process of exposure to more interactive, engaging and thinking ways of teaching literacy, independent writing and numeracy.

'I enjoyed the workshop for it is very important,' said one visiting teacher who had travelled 60+ miles in order to attend.

We plan to provide some support in terms of supervision to see what things are being implemented from the training and do some follow up in their locations as well as providing a resource library that schools can come and sign for games and materials for a period. As they say in Salone.....small small...small small..... One step at a time. Let's hope we can help the youngsters in the Port Loko district have a greater chance of gaining a meaningful foundation in education on which can be built fully participating, thinking citizens.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans please go to