Last October when we wrote we were really excited about the granting of approval to St. Paul’s School in Bo, Sierra Leone which would allow the school to give its pupils a full secondary education and take them up to university entrance standard.
Now the school is putting this approval to work and will start this Senior Secondary School education this coming October, and for that they need to build an extra twelve classrooms over the next three years to accommodate the extra students. We have offered to raise the money to fund the building and equipment as it will make St. Paul’s a complete secondary school. This will help them on into jobs, businesses or higher education when they finish.
The new school when finished will double student numbers to around 1,600. The overall cost of the two-story block surrounded by storm drains, equipped and with a new toilet block will be in the order of £60,000. A fraction of what it would cost here, but it is still a lot of money to be raised.
Work has already started (see pictures) and we have now sent out £20,000 which is enough to complete the floors and walls. The work is continuing at pace as the roof needs to be on the first floor before the rainy season starts in earnest in May. This should allow the new intake to start in October, while we pause for breath and carry on with the fundraising.
We have got this far very quickly because we knew the SSS build would be needed and so had managed to save reserves of £20,000 from previous fundraisings. In addition, our launch event, a Songs of Praise Service in January, resulted in many donations and one especially large one, all of which helped enormously.
Our next fund-raising event is a Hog Roast on Sunday 20th May from 5pm – 9pm at Rookwood overlooking Chichester Harbour with live music from Nigel Bennett and Willie Austen and a welcome drink and raffle. Tickets will cost £20 and are available from Elaine Leaver 514222, Linda Baker 513205 or Bruce Holben 514129 – or any committee member.
Our ambition is to raise a further £30,000 over the next four years, and so along with this newsletter we are appealing to your continuing generosity to help us raise £5,000 now and a further £25,000 over the next three years. It will make a huge difference to children giving them a real chance in life which they otherwise simply would not have.
It is easy to get so wrapped up in the SSS project that we neglect things like sponsorship which are fundamental to what we are doing in Bo. Sponsorship allows the poorest and most vulnerable children to get an education which will open up a new world of opportunities for them. Orphans and the children of single parents, especially girls, have no hope of an education unless we help them; and we, or rather you, are helping them with over 220 children currently sponsored. It only costs £5 a month to offer a child a new life. If you would like to do that either go to the website and download a standing order and gift aid form and send them to the secretary at the address above or, contact her directly on 01243 512415. The website, on which you can see details of the progress of the SSS build, of fund-raising events and of many other items of interest including sponsorship, is www.slbsa.co.uk.
We have recently appointed an arts and languages teacher, Theresa Allie, as our liaison person at St Paul’s to send us news of the school and the sponsored children. We are providing her with a tablet computer and a smart phone with which to keep in touch. She will be working with committee members Sue O’Boyle and Cordelia Renouf to get this information onto the website for you.
Penelope and Rod Sharman, who are currently holding a teachers conference in Bo, have taken over 50 of your letters to the children and will be bringing replies shortly.
For the future, we will be looking to visit Bo over the next 12-18 months and will probably tie it in with the opening of at least part on the new SSS classrooms. A week-long visit will cost in the region of £1,200, the majority being the cost of the air fares. Details will appear on the website in plenty of time so please do consider whether you might like to join the group. You will bear the entire cost yourself, no funds raised are used for these trips.
Finally, a big thank you for all your support. This is still very much a village project although with much support from elsewhere; and it is quite amazing what you have achieved to help some of the poorest children in the world. All we can do is offer our heartfelt thanks on their behalf. You have offered them a new life and they are constantly thanking us for the difference you have made. Well done!