Still out of breath after the whirlwind tour organised by Jan and Anne [my long-suffering diary arrangers] Kofi and I are now back in Sierra Leone. It was hectic, but it needed to be and there are many positives from the trip in terms of new fund-raising initiatives and support.
There was a very encouraging meeting of all the UK volunteers – the management committee in the morning, joined by a good number of other supporters in the afternoon and for the first time everyone was able to put a face to the names generally flitting about by email. [Anyone who would like to be part of such a meeting in the future, please do let us know!]. Strangely, large chunks of N22, where the meeting was held, had gone out in empathy with Sierra Leone and had a power cut – a bit chillier in the UK when that happens though.
The Management Committee.
If we can get the engineer to flesh out his time line and ‘flesh in’ his labour costs, we have a commitment for the funding of a new senior secondary building in Rolal – fantastic news which will result in significant reduction in the pressure experienced in Freetown each year when up-country EducAid students have had to come to the capital to continue their education.
An exciting new initiative, master-minded by Alex Ehegartner [you can see why his pupils call him Mister E / mystery!] of Stockport Grammar School, is gathering momentum and getting interest from other areas too. The ‘Link My Schools’ project , with the motto ‘Stockport Schools working as 1 on 1 initiative’ is linking a growing number of schools, largely organised by their student councils, to work on curriculum and fund-raising projects to learn from and about EducAid and Sierra Leone while supporting us at the same time. [http://www.linkmyschools.co.uk/]
Jimiyke is still undergoing tests, but preliminary results seem positive. He has been speaking to schools and motivating them in their endeavours on EducAid’s behalf and impressing people with his quiet confidence as he speaks of his past and of EducAid’s role in helping him to a new life.
He is also seeking to improve his English and ICT skills. We have skeleton plans for a whole ICT programme of work experience and exposure. He is looking forward to having lots of new knowledge and skills to take home with him to Sierra Leone. [For those new to Jimiyke’s story please read the post on 22nd May 09, 8th, 16th & 28th July, 11th Nov and/or follow the link to: http://www.educaid.org.uk/EducAid_Sierra_Leone/Abu_Bakarr_Koroma.html]
Jimiyke tucking in to his ‘white man chop’ with great enthusiasm.
St Simon’s RC primary school, which hosts Kofi whenever we are in Stockport, have been modelling interactive learning in the early years so that I can go and convert the Maronka teachers. They are hard working and caring, but will greatly benefit from some ideas on how to get kids imaginative and creative.
St Simon’s students modelling active learning, to help with training of Maronka staff.
We have a couple of visitors at the moment:
Pat Payton is on loan from the UK, post retirement and is working very hard with the science department and getting ready to train the staff in detection and support of dyslexic students.
And also Brother James of the Korean Kottongnae Community has been visiting to see, as part of their mission to the poor and abandoned, what they might be able to do to support EducAid – exciting possibilities!
Up-country today, and training the female EducAid staff tomorrow, it is as if we never went away.