Monday, December 31, 2012

Much more than a one man / woman achievement

EducAid is now a really big family.  Between the Trustees, Advisory Board, donors and supporters in the UK and all the staff and students in Sierra Leone, we are talking about a few thousand individuals who together make up EducAid and achieve its successes.
The MBE is nice to receive, although of course its Empire origins are somewhat uncomfortable to say the least! but the glory is certainly not due to one person.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me, personally, during the ups and downs of the last 13 years as well as all of who you contribute so generously with your time, money and love to make available the all powerful gift of education to our young people in Sierra Leone.
We passionately believe in the power of education to change lives and destroy poverty.  The examples within the EducAid family are numerous.  May we all continue to fight for the right to thinking education in whichever way we are able to.
Today would have been our wedding anniversary. Maybe instead of that particular celebration we, that knew and loved Alhassan,  can recommit again, in his name too, to work for the education that he was so proud to be helping bring to his fellow Sierra Leoneans.
May 2013 see many more coming in to school and learning that they can learn and that education with all its trials and tribulations brings great joy and empowerment.

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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Miriam Mason-Sesay awarded MBE

PRESS RELEASE December 29, 2012, Freetown 

Miriam Mason-Sesay, Country Director EducAid Sierra Leone, awarded an MBE in Her Majesty’s  2013  New  Year’s  Honours List for her outstanding contribution to education and charitable work in Sierra Leone 

EducAid Sierra Leone, a UK registered charity, has been providing high quality education to some of the poorest children in Sierra Leone since 1994. Miriam Mason-Sesay has lived in-country since 2000, initially visiting in 1998 to work with the Guinea-based refugees fleeing the horrific civil war. 

Originally from Banbury in Oxfordshire where her parents still live, Miriam was educated at Blessed George Napier secondary school and then attended Goldsmiths College, London to read French. Subsequently she trained as a teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge. 

Prior to moving to Sierra Leone, Miriam taught in the UK, including the Salesian college in Battersea, London and St Edmunds College, Ware, Herts primarily focusing on modern languages. 

Since  moving  to  Sierra  Leone,  EducAid,  under  Miriam’s  close  direction,  has  established  a  network  of schools  which  are  successfully challenging the national culture of under-performance. Restricting intake to the very poorest and using a robust, success-focused curriculum, EducAid has achieved the best exam results in the country year after year. 

EducAid Chairman, Dr James Boardman, said that he was delighted for Miriam. 

“She  deserves  the  recognition  for  her  unique  and  selfless  contribution.  She  has  both  delivered  EducAid’s  programme   and personally raised the bulk of the necessary funds to do so. The personal cost to Miriam has been significant: it is terrific  to  see  public  acknowledgement  of  her  work”. 

EducAid students were affected by the war in so many ways: a significant number live permanently in EducAid facilities for want of dependable family. Many are rejected by, or have no family to look after them. EducAid provides daily food, education and medication through their academic life at a cost of approximately £180 per student per year. 

EducAid is predominantly funded from private resources in England: individual philanthropists, schools and churches provide  EducAid’s  ongoing  funding  base.    In  addition  EducAid  has,  when  requested,  provided 
services  through  funding   from a range of international bilateral donors – including  the  UK’s  Department for International Development. 

Further information on EducAid’s work can be found at or contact Dr James Boardman (

If you want to make a donation please go to and click on the mydonate button. Remember it costs £15 per month to educate and feed a child, that is a pizza and a drink in the UK. The best Christmas present you could give us is to sign up for a direct debit of £15 per month.

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

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EducAid Sierra Leone is a charity helping to improve education in Sierra Leone. Registered charity no. 1048012

Friday, December 28, 2012

A taste of things to come - unbelievable fee hikes

An on-going problem for EducAid is how to help our youngsters achieve their potential when they finish school.  EducAid runs schools not universities but clearly, to leave these bright young things at this point misses an amazing opportunity to have a greater impact on the country and to enable them to achieve all they are capable of.
Sometimes we get the offer of sponsorship from friends and visitors for some of our youngsters.  We are very excited, for example, that 16 will start a distance (during the holidays!) teacher training course.  We have a small number who have also got sponsorship to go to university to study engineering, medicine, accounting etc.
Just before the elections fees were fixed.  Now, with the elections behind them, in most of the colleges the fees have been doubled.  This is like a step back in time: an issue quoted as being the straw that broke the camels back was when President Momoh told the people in the early 90s that education was a privilege and not a right.  This led to student protests that were eventually hijacked and militarised and the war began.
A sudden increases in the fees sends a clear message.  Education is not for everyone.  It has to be said that this is not a new message from government here but it is discouraging to see such blatant disregard for equality.
Young people who are not invested in, will become a burden to society.
In the last couple of weeks, we have had 5 of our students affected by the fee rises.  For some, they are fortunate and their sponsors have been able to send the additional funds.  For others, this is not the case.
e.g. Sumaila's mother paid for his education until he got to the end of Junior Secondary School but then she died so that was the end of school for him until he found EducAid.  Sumaila started at EducAid and quickly realised that with a system like ours he could really develop his thinking and learn well.  He got excellent results in the public exams: EducAid came 2nd in the country and Sumaila came top in EducAid.  He applied for medicine and has been awarded a place and a sponsor was found but with the sudden rise in fees, it looks as if he will not be able to take up his place.  We are short by approximately £1200 per year.  Sierra Leone is crying out for doctors with commitment to their country and willing to serve with integrity.  How will we ever get them if this is how the potential doctors are treated?

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