Times can be
tough in Sierra Leone, and this is one of them. With Ebola rife throughout the
country, and the population panicked about contracting this deadly disease,
education can seem secondary to survival.
This is not
the case. Our mission statement says that the education of young women
and men is essential to unlocking human potential, overcoming poverty,
improving wellbeing, building democracy, and providing the cornerstone for
stable development. This belief is not just on an individual level, but for the
country as a whole.
We see this played out in no
better case than with Augustine Bundor, an alumni of EducAid and a student of medicine.
On Miriam’s journey back to the UK this month, she encountered Augustine being
instrumental in the Ebola screenings at Lungi Airport. The checks in place at
Lungi Airport were documented in a Telegraph
, with chlorine washes, visual assessments, and temperature-taking
are required to even enter the airport, these are up to international
standards. The decision to screen patients at airports around Europe and the US
was a politicized decision, a way to calm an increasingly nervous western
population about the threat of Ebola. However, it seems clear that when considering
the long incubation period of Ebola, the financial resources and man-power
being expended in Western airports be much better utilized on-the-ground in
Western Africa since the chances of a passenger developing the symptoms of
Ebola between takeoff and landing are surely little to none.
Regardless of the political pawn-play
of the Western Governments, we are truly proud to have Augustine playing a
significant role in the Ebola outbreak. Not only is he working to limit the
damage on the international community, and helping members of his own country
to identify and hopefully treat the virus, he has been instrumental in the
teaching of safe practices in our school. Augustine has visited all of our
school sites to train teachers and students the best ways of protecting
themselves against the virus. He is an absolutely typical case of a Sierra
Leonean in EducAid: a child of civil war struggling to find an education;
back-breaking work and inadequate living conditions; an unsupportive family
network; it was at EducAid he found the care and help to achieve his potential.
Here is his story:
name is Augustine Nyuma Bundor, born in Kailahun district, Eastern province of
was born in a polygamous home of three wives to my father, each bearing him
four children and I am the 3rd child to my mother.
family depends solely on subsistence farming. With the exception of myself and
my younger brother, neither the parents nor the other siblings are educated.
the rebel war in 1991, we all flew to a neighbouring country (Guinea) where we
stayed in refuge camps for 8 years. I attended refugee schools in various camps
when I partially abandoned my family by ignoring their faming habit. I hated
going to the farms all the time.
then decided to return to Sierra Leone and stay with an uncle in the city
(Freetown) with whom one of my siblings was staying. I was luckily voluntarily
repatriated to Freetown and I found my uncle and brother. The uncle denied my
staying with him. My brother took me to his single room where he lived with his
wife and child, wanting me to be cleaning and laundering for the family. I
spent more than a year with this brother, trying to convince him to support my
schooling as he was a taxi driver. He
too denied helping me so I left him and joined a local building and
construction enterprise so that I could at least learn a trade.
given up hope for my schooling, I chose to become either a welder or an
electrician. The enterprise was just newly formed with a single store for tools
and equipment. Me and my other colleagues spent 2 years in this centre,
sleeping outside on cardboard and old non-functioning refrigerators.
day I met with a teacher from an English-based charity school, EducAid Sierra
Leone, and explained to him my stories. He kindly took me to the school and
helped me gain admission as a junior secondary student.
2003, I became a student of EducAid Sierra Leone. In this same academic year I
sat to the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) conducted by the West
African Examination Council (WAEC). I passed with flying colours and was
promoted to the senior secondary level.
my basic knowledge in welding and electrical installations, I developed great
interest for the sciences and became a science student.
was quite challenging for me because I had to attend classes till 3 pm and
after which I went to my work place (at the workshop) and worked almost
throughout the night.
then decided to forgo the workshop and concentrate on my studies. I joined the
other home students and became a home boy, living in the school, in the
classrooms. From then I became wholly dependent on EducAid. I was one of the
boarding students throughout my junior and senior secondary levels (from 2003
2006, I sat to the West African Secondary Schools Certificate Examination
(WASSCE) also conducted by WAEC. I passed all the subjects with university
requirements in all the sciences. I was asked by the country director, Miriam
Mason-Sesay, and her late husband, Mr Alhassan Sesay, to assist in the
teaching. I was very happy to be taken as a junior staff having been one of the
students of the school. I was sent to one of the provincial branches (EducAid
Rolal) where I spent two years teaching junior secondary school sciences.
finally surprised me with a sponsor, Ann Beatty, in 2008 to further my studies
in any of the sciences. I decided to study medicine and become a medical doctor
because of the love and concern for humans I developed over the two years of
teaching, and more importantly because of the poor medical services and few
health practitioners in the country.
then gained admission in the one and only school of medicine in Sierra Leone,
College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) to undertake an 8 year
focus, commitment, hard work, endurance and perseverance, I have been
successfully going through all the academic years form basic to clinical
I am in the 6th year and, hopefully by 2016, I will be a graduate medical
THANKS AND APPRECIATIONS TO MY SPONSOR, Ann Beatty, THE COUNTRY DIRECTOR,Miriam
Mason-Sesay, AND TO EDUCAID AS A WHOLE FOR THEIR KIND COLLECTIVE ROLE IN
EDUCATING ME TO THIS LEVEL. EVERYTHING
BEGINS AT A POINT…
been preparing to fight Ebola since it’s inception. By creating real
opportunities for disadvantaged people, and providing the most basic support,
we can help people to maximise their own potential. Referring again to our
Mission statement, We ensure that everyone has opportunities to develop
academically, socially, spiritually, morally, creatively, physically, mentally,
building for a life #AfterEbola. Support us now.