EduNations Senior Secondary School is officially open!
The January 10th opening of the Senior Second School (SSS) in Rokassa was a huge step forward in EduNations’ ability to provide quality education for the rural poor of northern Sierra Leone. Prior to this, students who had passed the national Basic Certificate Exams after junior secondary school* simply had nowhere to go to further their education. Now, students from all villages will have the chance to complete an undergraduate education, and maybe, for some, to go on to further studies at university.
Rokassa’s central location among the six villages made it a natural location for the new senior secondary school which also has boarding and dining facilities. And the school is in full operation with a current enrollment of 135 students in the following categories:
|Academic Study Area||Boys||Girls|
For many of the students, coming to the Rokassa SSS is their first experience of life away from their home village. EduNations staff focused on easing their transition with a warm welcome and orientation activities to acquaint them with the new school, their schoolmates, teachers, and other staff. Key among the staff are the House Parents who live in the dormitories with their students to provide both guidance and supervision.
Here’s what some students said on just the second day:
One girl said,
“This is my first time of sleeping on a bed alone! Oh, what a joy!”
Another student said, “I have never seen, let alone slept on a bunk bed. I was afraid of sleeping up top as I might fall off, but so far, so good!” Another said, “This is the best food I have EVER eaten! I will not go for vacation again.”
More than one said something like,
“God bless EduNations for this opportunity to learn.”
Since the SSS was just a hope a few years ago, thank you to all the supporters whose generosity has made this dream a reality.
*junior secondary school is the rough equivalent of eighth or ninth grade in the USA.
Student Sponsorship Changes Lives
“Every Student deserves a chance, and you can help!”
Student Sponsorship is a popular way for supporters to connect to a particular young girl or boy in rural Sierra Leone.
Just $28 per month covers all of the costs of a student’s education, including tuition, teachers’ salaries, school supplies, sanitary latrines, and fresh drinking water. When each school nears 100% sponsorship, EduNations will be able to ensure a hot meal every day and school health services for each student.
Over the years, you may have read stories of the ‘joy of sponsorship.’ Many sponsors have expressed the delight they have had when they are writing a letter and sending a picture to their student. The few who have made the long trip to Sierra Leone have written of an almost overwhelming joy when they met their student, held their hand as they walked in the village, or when their student climbed into their lap.
But we’d like to highlight how the students and their parents feel when they receive the news that they have a sponsor.
“At EduNations, when students learn they have been sponsored in the US, the smile on their faces show that they are extremely happy and have received the best news ever”, said Psychosocial Coordinator Fatu Koroma. “We have witnessed students jumping and dancing and making all kinds of joyful expressions whenever they hear that someone abroad cares enough to support their education. We have seen how this positively impacts the student’s school attendance and test performance. While the students are going to the EduNations schools, they receive a completely free education regardless of their ethnic background, religion or physical challenges.”
It may be hard to imagine the impact of your Student Sponsorship. Yet our colleagues tell us nothing refreshes a student’s eagerness to learn more than to hear a sponsor has their photo in their home and prays for them and their success in school. Students are even more encouraged when they receive letters or photos from their sponsors. The students value these letters dearly, and sometimes they are the student’s greatest treasure.
Student Sponsorship is especially important in the village of Makump where EduNations operates a nursery and primary school, but not a junior secondary school. When Makump students complete the primary school’s 6th grade, the next step is to advance to a nearby, government assisted, Community Junior Secondary School. Having experienced up to that point a completely free education moving up to a school which requires payment for tuition and uniforms is either a financial nightmare or simply impossible for the students and their parents.
However, EduNations sponsored students are able to continue their basic education at the government assisted junior secondary school with a full package of school materials and psychosocial support which is now so much more needed. Both students and parents remain so thankful for the support EduNations’ Student Sponsors provide.
If you are currently sponsoring a student or are thinking about doing so, thank you! If you have any questions please contact the Student Sponsorship Coordinator Beth Weaver, at email@example.com.
Holiday Celebrations: Picnics and Caroling
Christmas celebrations are a highlight of any year at EduNations schools as we remember the birth of Jesus, our hope and joy in this life and forever. But with 2020’s COVID-19 restrictions, we thought gathering together to commemorate the holiday would not be possible.
We were ecstatic when Sierra Leone’s government eased restrictions before the holidays to allow our community celebrations. Excitement grew in each of the villages as preparations were quickly made for special community picnic feasts, complete with dancing amid the joy of gathering together. Since a supportive community environment is a key value for EduNations, the picnics were a great chance for teachers and students to develop even deeper relationships outside the classroom. And since gatherings had been prohibited since March, we were even more aware of how sweet it is to come together to celebrate God’s goodness.
Candle-lit Christmas caroling was the highlight of the celebration. Students walked across the towns with candles aloft while singing songs of hope and thanksgiving for about two hours in each of the communities. The light of candles shining in the darkness was a beautiful symbol of the hope brought by the EduNations schools and the Christian communities in each village. At the end of the caroling, students spoke of their loyalty to their school, teachers and fellow students, and their joy of coming to know Jesus. The school chaplain and pastors from each village’s church closed the evening with a gospel message.
Thank you for your support of EduNations’ mission to bring hope and quality education to remote villages of Sierra Leone.
Benefit Concert Raises $46,264!
On Friday, December 4, EduNations held its first-ever hybrid benefit concert. We were thrilled that so many of you could join us both online and in-person for this wonderful evening featuring Michael Card and Jeremy Casella. Both Card and Casella were excited for the opportunity to perform in-person as neither had been able to play live concerts all year due to the challenges of COVID-19. It was such a blessing to have both artists join us at Memorial Park Church after such an unprecedented year.
Even with COVID-19 limitations, almost 100 of you were able to join us in-person on December 4. In addition, many of you—including those who have not been able to join us for concerts in years past due to geographical limitations—were able to join us online that evening. Through your comments, shares, and the additional ways you engaged with us online, it practically felt like you were right there with us in-person! The online presence also allowed our staff to tune in to the concert all the way from Sierra Leone! This was a first for many of them, and they loved the opportunity to be a part of something so special that directly impacts them.
Throughout the evening, we were blessed with many of Card and Casella’s original songs, as well as some traditional Christmas songs. Some of EduNations’ board and staff members also updated you on our work in Sierra Leone which included our schools, our sustainable economic projects in the villages, and our brand-new Senior Secondary Board School! At the end of the evening, both Michael Card and Jeremy Casella joined together to lead all of us in a time of singing traditional Christmas hymns.
Throughout that evening and the following week, we asked you all to join us in raising funds for our students in Sierra Leone. Thanks to a generous donor, we received a $25,000 matching opportunity and many of you showed incredible generosity as you helped us try to reach our goal. By the end of the week, we were able to raise $46,264! After such a uniquely challenging year, we are especially grateful for your partnership in our work in Sierra Leone.
On behalf of our students, staff, and board of directors—TENKI!