Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pat Horn's assessment....

Retired UK teachers, Pat Horn and John Young just got back from a three week visit to EducAid.  They spent most of a week each in three sites and lived the whole experience to the full.  

I am sure they will be making the most of their home comforts now after weeks of grass mattresses on the floor, endless spice and rice and no running water apart from the first two days.

This is what Pat had to say about his trip. ......

I have just returned from a three week visiting the EducAid Schools in Sierra Leone.   Whilst there I met Miriam and through her good offices I was able to see, briefly in two instances, all five EducAid Schools.   I was able to stay in Lumley School in Freetown for a couple of nights and was able to call in and see the Rogere School on my way up-country to the other schools.   I was able to stay for a few days at the Magbeni School, the Rolal School and the Maronka School and see, and share in, the work of pupils/students and teachers at each of them.

I found :-

  • clear evidence that Sierra Leone was a country in great need of support and help
  • that if Sierra Leone is the eighth poorest country in the world, the poorer ones must be in really dire straits
  • the country is working to reconstruct and establish an infrastructure after ten years of a brutal, cruel and bloody civil war 
    • the country has just completed (November, 2012) the third general election since the civil war ended some ten years ago ; the campaign was peaceful and we can only hope the result is accepted by all parties
  • the pupils/students were
    • aged from five years to students in their twenties - one student had travelled from Liberia
    • very keen to learn, determined, resourceful, resilient, co-operative, 
    • very hardworking, -  in their academic work and in caring for their environment and each other,
    • very kind and generous to visitors and each other  - they have nothing, but will willingly share it with you,
    • always demonstrating their religious faith 
      • mornings start with prayers at 6.30 am 
    • immensely proud of EducAid, - as they should be !
    • very appreciative of 
      • the work of EducAid
      • the support EducAid receives from countries such as England
    • ambitious for themselves and Sierra Leone,
      • it is well worth remembering that the fine qualities of pupils/students are those promoted so effectively by EducAid 
      • the qualities that the pupils/students take away from EducAid are developed by Educaid rather than the qualities they bring to EducAid - the EducAid pupils/students, like children everywhere, do not arrive with such attitudes and qualities!   
      • the qualities demonstrated by the pupils/students are the result of a great deal of hard work by a great many adults and the older students.
School starts with the pupils/students lining up and singing hymns, and prayers led by pupils/students, followed by The National Anthem and The Oath of Allegiance to Sierra Leone;  all sung and said with an obvious and transparent sincerity

  • the teachers and adult helpers were
    • very committed to their work 
    • very hard working in difficult circumstances and with very limited resources and materials
      • teaching areas are far from ideal
      • furniture is far from ideal 
      • text books and reading materials are in short supply
        • there is a desperate need for materials to teach phonics to enhance literacy as a threshold skill to enable pupils/students to access the subjects of the Sierra Leonean curriculum
    • very caring for all the children in their care

  • EducAid to be
    • very successful whilst working in very difficult circumstances
    • providing education that is far superior to that provided by the state schools, although such schools charge fees that many families cannot meet
    • the only school providing 
      • free education for children - materials and teaching
      • free care to support the education for children
    • very successful in enabling pupils/students to achieve success in National Examinations
      • The National Primary School Certificate of Education
      • The Basic Education School Examination
      • The West African Secondary School Certificate Education
        • EducAid frequently comes top in the list of schools in these Public Examination 
    • in desperate need of additional resources in order to extend their work.

In conclusion I am able to confirm to you and all the generous donors from Christ Church Parbold that 

  • every penny donated goes directly to support the work of EducAid in Sierra Leone 
  • there are no paid employees except those teachers paid in Sierra Leone 
  • EducAid does a fantastic job in providing improved life chances for all the pupils/students attending their Schools
  • EducAid makes no charge to any pupil/student for teaching, accommodation, food, books or clothes
  • EducAid is the most worthy cause I have experienced
  • EducAid is very worthy of continued support

My prime reason for visiting EducAid was to inform myself of the situation there in order that I may be able to inform others here in the United Kingdom of the need for support.   This being so I am looking for uncritical but generous groups that would be willing to hear my personal view of EducAid and any contacts would be welcomed ! I maintained a diary of my visit, and was able to take videos and photographs of life in EducAid and hope to work out how to use these to enable people here to appreciate some elements of life in EducAid, Sierra Leone.    In addition I recorded, in written form the stories from some EducAid students, and I intend to produce these in a booklet for purchase, at a nominal cost (although more generous donations would be appreciated!) as and when I am able to speak to groups.     

Very Best Wishes,


Patrick Horn

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

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