One cornerstone of our mission, and something that EducAid has always been immensely proud of, is being an intrinsically Sierra Leonean organisation, and being cemented in the centre of our communities. From the very inception of the charity we committed to establishing our roots in Sierra Leone – not to fall in to the trap of many NGOs – but to empower Sierra Leoneans themselves to initiate their own change. This week, Miriam’s visit to our school at Magbeni revealed an initiative devised by some of the staff there that encapsulates this very fact, better than we could ever describe it. This is Miriam’s account:
“I visited Magbeni yesterday and found myself incredibly touched by their latest activities at the school. On the suggestion of AJ, our site coordinator there, and his deputy, Kai, the staff members have been ‘taxing’ themselves for a development fund. Their idea was to use this time and money in order to be able to do things they perceive as necessary within the school. To reiterate, this was an initiative dreamed up entirely by AJ and Kai – what a fantastic and entrepreneurial thing to do.
During the height of the Ebola crisis they contributed 1 Friday each and built 10 large group work tables and 20 benches; they put in a new ceiling in the library as well as laying a new floor. This week I met a new building that has been built as a library – it is nearly finished. Their attitude is so lovely and encouraging, I was really impressed.
The work that they have undertaken within the school is not the end of it. AJ (in blue) and his deputy, Kai, are both past pupils, and they are so incredibly committed to the EducAid beliefs and really lead the team. The photos of the two of them is with their other construction project, something that they have persuaded the community to help them with i.e. a couple of outside classrooms that can accommodate everyone in the village. They are determined that they, and the community that we are helping, will not force EducAid to carry the whole burden. It is a very very unusual attitude, and in great contradiction to the usual dependence and sense of entitlement that people often feel when they’ve been reliant on charity and aid for such a long time. It really reminds us of how much work that we’re doing to change things here – not just education, nor housing and food, but real social change. I’m so proud of those boys and long may them keep it up!”
I can do nothing but to reiterate Miriam’s words here. It is an immensely powerful story and one that signals such positive change in these communities. Through our educational morals we have inspired others to come together and work for the greater good. Go AJ, Go Kai, and Go Magbeni!
We’re beginning to accept our students in to our schools – running through the necessary precautions as we always have – and classes will be up and running again very soon. This is such a great story to propel us off in to this period of hard work, we can say nothing but thank you.
It is when one considers the compassion and generosity of these small acts that we can really appreciate the impact of the hard work that we do. It reiterates our mission and motto: Learning for Life in Sierra Leone.