Wednesday, December 25, 2013

One beautiful smile less this Christmas - HipHop RIP

Saidu, always known as HipHop, for his easy ways and lack of fuss about anything - the little one who could sleep balanced on a bench or curled in a corner - had the most beautiful smile and was the sort of child everyone just wanted to take home with them; everyone except his family that is!  He had a very difficult childhood being passed backwards and forwards between indifferent relations and when he arrived in EducAid never left again.  He quietly got on with life and smiled his beautiful smile at nearly everything that happened.  The big dark spot that remained was the extreme pain he suffered when a sickle cell crisis attacked him.  He faced these with courage however and indeed they had seemed to diminish a little recently.  One of the causes of the crises is cold, so he and another sickle cell sufferer slept out of the way of the drafts, in the library, in general.  2 years ago, HipHop woke to find his co-sufferer dead by his side.  It cannot have been easy to know it could just as well have been him!  Today though, it was his turn.  The only student to have remained in Freetown for the holidays avoiding the up-country harmattan cold and winds, he had been staying with the Sesay family in the school compound and was taken in the early hours to the nearby hospital when a fiercer than usual crisis attacked.  There was nothing that could be done for him there and shortly after, he died.  Yet another terrible loss to the EducAid family and what an awful start to Christmas.
Our prayers are with him and all the EducAid family as we move forwards without him but in his name and the name of all those we have lost this year, we commit to ensuring that we use our lives that have been spared, as well as we possibly can to bring positive change in Sierra Leone and wherever we find ourselves.
If you wish to know more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Sunday, December 22, 2013

EducAid 2013-2014

2013 had some very hard things happen.  We have lost a number of students.  Their young lives were cut short before time and their families have lost the hope that they brought to them and we have lost their gifts from our midst too.  They have gone and we are left.  Let the light that went with them not be lost altogether.  Let us carry that light for them.  As we go forwards, let us remember that we have an even greater responsibility to use our gifts and carry on the fight for them as well as for ourselves.

Some have had disappointments and not been promoted or moved forward in our lives at a time when they wanted it and have had to learn the virtue of patience.  Many have learned to be proud of their decisions to wait and to use the time well.

We have also had some fantastic successes:

100% in the NPSE and the BECE (as usual – fantastic achievement by staff and students and representing a lot of work!)

Over 150 teachers trained through the QEP and QEPM, having an impact on the education of nearly 9000 children!

8 out of 8 applicants to the African Gifted Foundation Summer Academy were invited to Ghana and had a wonderful time in Accra.

6 out of 12 places offered went to EducAid girls for the GoWoman mentoring breakfast in Freetown.

3 Slow Farms started under Carrick’s management but with the great hard work of many many staff and students.

A wonderful EducAidian Professionals Conference was held where 100+ past pupils committed themselves to counter culture values of integrity and resistance to corruption.

Together, in 2014 and indeed going forward, we believe we can build on all these achievements and we have the potential for an amazing future.  

The Sierra Leone we are targeting is a strong Sierra Leone with a healthy population: healthy in spirit, mind and body – resistant to corruption, providing good health and education services to its people, leading the way in sustainable independent development and technology.  This is a Sierra Leone, where there will no longer be a great difference in wealth between the rich and the poor; a Sierra Leone where some are willing to come down a notch or two in order for the wealth to be shared more equally to everyone; a Sierra Leone, where every Sierra Leonean is a brother or sister with equal chances to achieve and equal responsibility to give.

In EducAid we want to learn to educate and be educated in order to make this real.  We want to use our education to disrupt injustice and inequality, as much as possible.  We invite each member of staff and each student to see the gaining of their own education not as a means for them to leave the group of the oppressed and become one of the oppressors but to help the oppressed rise up with them and to hold the oppressors to account.  If one person alone succeeds, they fail.  If someone succeeds while bringing others with them, that is true success.  Let us rise but let us maintain our compassion.  Let us see our education as a means to change not only our own personal situation but that of our communities and indeed of the country as a whole.  If we can maintain our motto of Love, we are powerful.  If we forget love, we will use our education to be better crooks, liars and thieves.  In that case, it would be better that there was no EducAid! 

We have the opportunity to do something very exciting if we work together and pursue excellence in our academic studies as well as in our service and love of one another. 

We call all EducAidians to use this time of Christmas to choose to love; to love powerfully and courageously. 

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

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Magbeni - Such very very hard news!

Last week we were celebrating Magbeni's fantastic achievement in the recent public exams.  This week we are in mourning.  Kadija (17) and Aminata (16) were playing in the river while doing their laundry and were caught by the currents.  Jumping from a nearby boat and playing in a river they have known since they were small girls, these two students lost their lives when they lost footing and misjudged the strength of the water.  A classmate saw them and went to call for help but was too late. Familiarity with the river seems to have made them take its power too lightly and despite rules about not swimming in the river, their paddling got out of hand.
The village and the school mourn their loss. We have all committed to hold even higher the light, knowing that as they can no longer carry their own, we must carry ours for them as well as for ourselves.

Our prayers are especially with their families.

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

Friday, December 13, 2013

Public exams - 100% success AGAIN!

Once again, all EducAid's Junior Secondary Schools had 100% pass rates in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Countrywide, the standards are consistently closer to 40% pass rates.  With some of the poorest and most vulnerable young people in the country, EducAid achieves very very different results.

Magbeni came top of the EducAid stakes and this photo shows, Abu Koroma, Language Arts teacher, who had the best results, proving his right to his prize bag of rice by lifting it up (50kg of rice - that's a lot of rice an it's heavy!)

Fantastic job, as ever, by staff and students in all locations.  With this attitude and effort, we will make a difference in Sierra Leone. We will!

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

Widad Worneh, new Coordinator for Pastoral Care and Behaviour Management, is getting stuck into her role.  A key part of EducAid's positive behaviour management strategy is the peer mediator system.  Students are trained on each site to mediate in situations where students have got themselves in trouble.

The training focuses on listening skills, empathy, being a role model, mediating and conflict resolution.  Being a peer mediator has a high status in the schools and the team plays a vital role in addressing issues of poor behaviour and conflict student to student and even between students and teachers.

Well done Widad on an excellent initiative.

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