In 2009, our school started with two dropouts in the slums of Congo Town, with one zinc structure makeshift classroom. The space was ok for the small number we had, even though the environment was bad, and a dangerous to live and learn. The environment where we were all living was a densely populated community, prone to flooding disasters and sickness.
An hydro cable was about to be switched on that would supply electricity to Freetown. Experts warned people living under the hydro cable to evacuate. The Environmental Protection Agency had played other warnings over the radio for many years, that families living in the creeks and slums should think about resettlement, due to scientific facts that proved the water level would rise in the future, resulting in bigger and more frequent flooding, costing many lives, and much property
A friend, Ms. Hoogland, helped us rent a building in upper Congo Town for the school in 2011, which was safer, better, healthier and more spacious. We still enrolled a small number of pupils and youths; some pupils came once and never returned, some families thought learning was just a waste of time, and other families relied on their children for petty trading. Children face many overwhelming obstacle towards a good education.
After we relocated to the new building in upper Congo Town in 2011, we increased the enrollment to 60 pupils. Since 2011, we have been operating in upper Congo Town. The building was better for the 60 pupils enrolled from the slums, but our school aimed to accommodate more as the need arose. The number enrolled doubled, and then tripled. Our building became tight, and we extended a makeshift structure outside the building to allow more children. We soon outgrew this space as well. More and more families were coming in with their children to be enrolled. As a school, we wanted to give an equal opportunity to every child to have access to education, and empower them with life skills to thrive in this our 21 century. God never disappointed us.
As the school expands and the population rises, the need for more staff and resources became an issue. Bills, building rent, furniture, stationary, technologies and funding for teachers salaries also became a serious problem.
For over a decade, our school has survived and sustained, and this was possible due to some key players we had come across, which had made academics a success. Some of this people were Ms. Margaret Hoogland who helped us move to safety in Upper Congo Town, and supported running and staff salaries for a year. Mr Ben Stern, who helped us with tech tools and training, and helped with our school website. Ms. Dabney A Ferguson, who helped sustain our school and fund staff salaries and running costs for almost half a decade. She also provided online training for staff at our school. Mr & Ms Ihrie funded computers for our school and have been committed to funding school monthly internet and children’s support. Mrs. Ihrie also provided online training to teachers. Ms. Sarika Jane Patel, who significantly supported student families in the slums and creeks relocation program. She also helped with funding for transportation. Our partnership with St Mary Queen of Martyrs in Hull City, UK has been going well now for a few years, supported by the British Council Schools Online Connecting Classrooms Program. The school has helped with some tech tools, provided water supply, and teachers from St Mary School have visited our school to collaborate with our teachers. Mr. Daniel Woodard provided furniture, white boards, computers, and funding for our transportation.
Thank you so much, Mark! I loved how our paths connected this weekend. As I told you before, your soul and words inspired and left me in awe. Charlot Brigham Thetis
I read a great article with pleasure, I hope it will continue