This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our project to help the young families of Bo, Sierra Leone, by opening up the possibilities of a full education for their children. YOU made it possible for them to build St Paul’s Junior Secondary School in Bo and since then literally thousands of the world’s poorest children have received or are receiving an education they would not otherwise have had. The school has flourished with your support and some of the children you sponsored have finished in the top ten of all secondary school children in the Bo district (half the country). The school, its head throughout – Solomon Scott-Manga – and its teachers; as well as the Anglican Diocese of Bo which supervises and administers the c. 60 schools for which it is responsible; are extremely proud of what has been achieved. You should be too.
During that 10 year period all sorts of good things have happened. Some children have gone on to university or higher education. Many have found jobs. They have suffered from two years of Ebola and survived. Agriculture training has increased and is helping feed families today with the expectations of feeding many more tomorrow. The school has grown and many facilities have been added such as: storm drains, a large new assembly hall, new toilets, a bridge giving safe access, running water to taps and toilets giving better post-Ebola hygiene, equipment for a brass band; and now we are half-way through funding a perimeter wall to secure the school’s boundaries from urban encroachment and secure the buildings and equipment from theft. We are also exploring ways to improve the prospects for children as they leave school by helping them become more business minded and supporting set up plans, in the hope that increased prosperity at home will improve prospects in their own communities and reduce the need to look elsewhere.
All this is worth celebrating and the Bishop of Bo and St Paul’s School have invited all supporters to come and celebrate with them in November (21st -27th); anyone interested in joining in the visit please look at the website (details below) for more information.
Our understanding of the difference you have helped make for the young families in Bo was greatly increased when Emmanuel, Bishop of Bo, visited us in February and spent five days with us taking part in many church, school and village activities; and meeting just about everyone. It was a very successful visit and developed relationships in many areas and on many levels.
Meanwhile we get on with the less glamorous tasks of fund-raising and communicating with you, without which there would be no interest and no project. We have worked hard to improve contact with the school this year with the exchange of Christmas cards for the first time, and of letters via several visitors now Ebola travel restrictions have been lifted. We have been given a dedicated teacher to liaise between us and the school so over the next year those of you who sponsor children will be able to get more reports and also some pictures of the children. Getting information out to you all has been difficult too as people move away and/or the means of communication changes, and so we have been setting up a website which although fairly basic for now, will offer much easier access to information on the project and a much quicker way of getting important news to those who would like it, with interactive possibilities for the future. So do please look at the website www.slbsa.co.uk and give us your feedback. Please also let us have your email addresses if you would like us to send you monthly newsletters and (individually) information about your sponsored child(ren). If you would be interested in sponsoring a child, then please visit the donate page.
We also have a fund-raising programme which will appear on the website. The first event is ‘A Taste of Spain’, a Spanish lunch party with Paella and Sangria, Flamenco music and a raffle from 12 noon on 20th August. Tickets @ £15 per head from Linda Baker – 513205 or Gerry Holben 512415. These events are far from just fund-raisers, they are great fun, and they help you get to know the people involved and find out much more about what is happening in Bo. Please support them, it makes a huge difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest children.