Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Exciting opportunity

Excited team work - going through the online applications for UK visas
A few months ago, the Steve Sinnott Foundation, [set up by Steve Sinnott's widow in order to continue his work in development education] found EducAid online and became interested.
After a couple of meetings, SSF have worked with a funding agency to propose an exciting training visit for some of EducAid's staff.  The hope is that 12 of the leadership team and middle management will go to the UK at the beginning of November for a week of training and a week of observations in other schools.
This is a wonderful opportunity for them and for EducAid and will enable the concerned staff to come back and really make a difference in our new teacher training centres.
The big hurdle: visas for the UK.  We are collecting documents and trying to outguess all possible blockages.  The systems have got harder and harder [and not any fairer for it!].  One is no longer invited for an interview but has to think ahead of all possible reasons they might want to stop you for and put a document in place to preempt.
Anybody with any legal or immigration know how that would like to give us some advice would be greatly appreciated!
If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to and

Balla Turay - patience and integrity win in the end and he is on his way!

Great Excitement as the lads wish Balla safe journey. 
Balla on his way to the airport.....
Goodbyes at Lungi airport.
A life changing journey...... [hopefully the breakdown on the way to the ferry will be the last of the hiccups he has to face!]

Balla Turay, was awarded a grant to go and study ICT in Venezuela in March 2010 [see blog post at the time].  After a ridiculous amount of 'to'ing and 'fro'ing to the ministry of Foreign Affairs, sending of passports, returning of passports, undertaking medical tests, redoing medical tests and so on and so on, when almost all hope had gone that it would ever materialise, Balla is on his way 17 months later.

It is common place for all such offers to go to the rich and well connected and Balla lacked both attributes.  His patience and integrity has paid off today though and he is flying tonight.

Balla comes from a home where finances were such that finishing his secondary education was not going to happen unaided.  It was his hard work, excellent exam results, community service certificate! and determination that have enabled him to break out of the cycle of poverty.  This will change the options he has forever.

Balla will be the 4th EducAidian to travel out of the country on a grant for study: Kema Gondo is in China studying medicine; Issa Fowai is in China studying engineering; Musa Koroma is in Russia studying engineering and Balla will be in Venezuela doing Information and Communication Technology.

We wish him every success in his studies [3 months of Spanish first] and look forward to welcoming him back with all his new found knowledge, skills and vision when he finishes.

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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Urgent Please - Day Dream Education Products

Today and Every Friday til 3rd September [set a reminder on your phone!].........

Please everyone who is on Facebook or Twitter can you do this so we can get as many of these as possible for the schools:

If you follow this link DayDream Facebook page all you have to do is post on their wall: 'My favourite DayDream is...... ' and enter a day dream product.

If you post this on their Facebook page they will ask you for your details and will post you a free product.  Not sure if it is the product you ask for or if they select one and send it anyway.  Either way, we win!

They have some excellent wall charts, desk charts, interactive software, pocket posters and worksheets.  Nearly all of which are relevant and useful for use in our EducAid schools.  My favourites are the science, maths and English products but..... let's see what we can get.

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

Oooooh - it's the holidays..........oh no it's not - it's debating training

But....staff and students are joining in with great enthusiasm.
They have taken over the library.
Aruna Bangura of the leadership team underwent training and is now delivering
 sessions on key thinking skills for debating.
Bhumi Purohit, of SLEEP an American based organisation which has been working in partnership with EducAid for some time, is over in Sierra Leone for a few weeks and is using her time to train some staff and students in debating techniques [and in teaching debating techniques].

There is a lot of research showing the fantastic benefits of debate training in terms of thinking and analytical skills as well as behavioural and attitudinal change.  We look forward to those being trained this week and next benefitting from this but also, we plan to role out the opportunity to as many other youngsters as we can during the coming year.

This is what a couple of the youngsters have to say about it, themselves:

'I am enjoying the programme so much because we are exchanging ideas' says Isatu Kamara.

'The thing I enjoyed the most during the training was the interaction and discussion.  I specially liked working in groups,' said Baimba S Kamara.

'I like the fact that I can discuss with the staff too,' says Mohamed E Bangura.

A great opportunity.  Thank you so much Bhumi for the initiative and for so willingly giving your time and expertise.

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

Friday, July 8, 2011

Getting closer to being able to imagine it in action!

The roof is going on to the Rolal Teacher Training Centre and, wow, what a difference it makes!

It is now easy to imagine it in action.  This is going to be a fantastic space where we can bring teachers from other schools in the Port Loko District and thus help raise the quality of education available in more and more communities.

We aim to launch our Quality Enhancement Programme in Rolal for approximately 10 partner schools in November.  There is plenty of work to do still but we are excited.

Thank you to so many who have contributed and continue to contribute to the whole Rolal education project from donors to staff and volunteers.

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