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