The short answer: By engaging them in a new paradigm!
In a world that defines success in $$$ signs, cars, houses and material possessions, none of the best or brightest will want to pursue teaching as it is never going to be among the highly remunerated jobs.
If we can enable our youngsters to realise that the pursuit of having, rather than being, will never really satisfy their deepest cravings or really count as success, we stand a chance of persuading them that the best way of really being part of something exciting is to join the teaching force.
If success is defined in terms of being human; if success is defined in terms of how many people have I had a positive impact on through my ways of being and dealing with them; if success is defined in terms of have I made the world a better place by the ways I treat others and live my life, then there is an excitement about being part of the only profession where we can truly change the life chances of hundreds of young people.
EducAid is a small education charity, working in the North and West of Sierra Leone, currently the 5th poorest country in the world. Because poverty is so obviously bad, it is a generally accepted perception that wealth must by definition be good and the pursuit of wealth is commonly accepted as the real motive for any educational endeavour. In EducAid, we energetically seek to engage our youngsters in a different way of thinking. Even academic success, without real citizenship values is not prized. Excellence is a goal but only because it enables us to achieve our bigger goal of building the dignified, democratic Sierra Leone of our dreams. For us, it is clear that if you grow in academic excellence but have no integrity, love or service driving your efforts, you will use your achievements for selfish ends and will ultimately damage the country. If your academic excellence is given purpose by your love, your determination to serve and to share and to avoid corruption, you will surely bring development and be able to work as part of a team of change-makers.
EducAid currently has 159 staff. 119 of them are past pupils. Alusine and Kabiru are illustrative of the sort of attitude we have come to expect from our alumni. They have seen themselves taken out of real poverty and they are now part of a powerful team that works to transform the lives of the children in their care and even more exciting, in some ways, they are part of a team that trains teachers (often twice their age and more) from over 70 partner schools from all over the country, enabling positive change for thousands of young people’s education. They are educators who are proud of what they are doing not worried about how much they are earning. They are hard working, inspiring and passionate. They are among the best and the brightest and they are leading a small army of others into the world of education!
If you are in a position to support EducAid’s work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to our donate page.