The Pastor’s School Sierra Leone
This is a report from our contact Ruth Evans:
Sierra Leone, once associated with a decade long war, is now back to being a peaceful country and home to a population of incredible people. It remains, however, one of the poorest countries in the world. Average life expectancy is just 47 years and more than 1 in 10 children don’t make it to their fifth birthday. Only 40% of adults can read and write and the average Sierra Leonean has had fewer than 3 years of education.
I recently spent a year working for the Africa Governance Initiative within the Government of Sierra Leone. My job was to help them attract foreign investment so that, over time, the Government can begin to provide the healthcare, education and services that the population so desperately needs. In the meantime, however, my driver Sulaiman introduced me to a local Pastor, James Ndamah, who runs a community school for local and orphaned children. James set up the school off his own back to ensure that local children got a free primary education and, through the school and Church, he has also taken in and educated numerous orphans who have adopted by families in the local community. When I first visited, the school was being run in a tiny top room of a small house with nothing more than tarpaulin to protect them from the torrential downpours of the summer months. James spent his evenings working as a builder to earn money that, alongside donations to the Church, he used to pay five teachers a small stipend to help him run the school.
I first visited the school in April 2011 with my Mum and some friends and we were so taken by the initiative that my Mum and friends returned to the UK and, through a wide range of incredibly generous donations, raised over US$2000 to build a new school. The Evans Primary School (their idea, not mine!) re-opened in September 2011 and provides primary education, including national examinations, to over 100 children in a building about 3 times the size of the original one.
Since then, the Tadworth and Walton Overseas Aid Trust has generously agreed to provide funding for a toilet and for the teacher’s stipends for the next three years. But there’s still a bit more to do. A water tank would cost about US$300 and mean the children didn’t have to walk for 30 minutes to the river and back for water before school. About US$200 would pay for more desks and benches to make sure that every child has a seat in the classroom. US$1000 a year would double the teachers’ stipends and give them a wage of more than a dollar a day. Anything else would be used to buy educational materials or to feed and clothe the poorer children.
Thanks to everyone who has been so generous so far. If anyone would like to help out with a donation, however small, I can guarantee that the money (plus gift aid) will all go directly to the school via a Moneygram transfer to Sierra Leone and distributed by the incredibly trustworthy Sulaiman.
Please remember to tell TWOAT if you want a donation to be specifically used for The Pastors School.