A Letter from EduNations’ Newly Installed Board Chairman
I’m thrilled to introduce myself as the new Board Chair for EduNations. That’s me on the left hand side of the picture by Samuel Sesay on my first trip to the village of Rokassa in 2013. On that trip, we arrived with a half-finished school building, a pastor, a lot of promises . . . and prayer. The community was filled with all kinds of hope and excitement, as were we, but I also had to ask myself the question, ‘Lord, how in the world can these needs be met?’ A little of my prayer probably echoed that of King Jehoshaphat when he said, ‘Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you!’ (2 Chronicles 20:12) Yet he and the people also followed that up with ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.’ (20:21)
Since that trip, we have seen a transformation in this village. Water wells, a medical clinic, a bakery, a church, the Pa Santigie gardens and schools from Pre-K to Senior Secondary have sprung up, providing hope across the entire region. God has brought leaders and resources that were beyond our greatest imaginings, and we believe that He is still at work, through the faithful and generous responses of so many of you, both inside and outside of Sierra Leone. Great needs and challenges remain, but the work that has been accomplished over these years is breathtaking!
I step into the role of Chair recognizing the incredible legacy of those who have come before me in this role. There are times when my prayer continues to be that of Jehoshaphat’s! Yet the Lord that he prayed to is still the same today, so we can have confidence that the good work that has been begun will be carried onto completion as we persevere in faith, hope, and love together. I look forward to partnering with you in that good work of EduNations!
Pastor Scott Graham
URGENT REQUEST: Food for Rokassa
On Friday, February 5, three EduNations staff members were involved in a vehicle accident while on their way to deliver food items to the village of Rokassa. Sadly our driver, Abu, passed away as a result of the accident and our two other staff members were taken to the hospital and discharged later that day with some minor injuries. We would greatly appreciate your prayers during this difficult time.
In addition to the tragic loss of life, all of the food that was being transported to Rokassa was lost in the accident. These food items were on their way to be delivered to our brand-new Senior Secondary School to feed our 134 high school students who are currently living on campus.
Over the next week, we need to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of the food items that were lost, medical bills for our staff members, damaged cell phones, support for Abu’s family, and immediate transportation costs until we find a solution to our delivery needs.
Will you help us raise $10,000 by March 1?
As always, we are thankful for your partnership as we care for the least fortunate in Sierra Leone.
EduNations’ President, Samuel Sesay, Awarded Doctoral Degree
On January 22, 2021, Samuel Sesay, the President of EduNations, received his PhD in Educational Administration and International Development from the Africa Graduate University, Kampala, Uganda.
Born and raised in civil war-torn Sierra Leone, Samuel was the first person in his entire lineage to earn a university degree. After graduating from Fourah Bay College, the first university in Western Africa in 2001, Samuel believed that, with God’s help, he would be able to go on to earn his PhD. Having the conviction that quality education is essential to break the cycle of poverty in third world countries, Samuel was convinced his pursuit of advanced degrees might inspire other family members to realize the importance of their own education.
In 2008, Samuel earned his Master of Arts degree in Peace and Development Studies from Njala University in Sierra Leone as part of an elite group trained to help foster socio-economic development in post-war Sierra Leone. After joining EduNations in 2013, these post graduate studies proved especially helpful. Samuel so ably applied his education to his work and consistently demonstrated leadership qualities that in 2017, the Board chose him as EduNations’ President.
As demanding as leading EduNations has been, Samuel continued to lead by example as he paid his own way for three years’ course of study to earn his Doctorate in Philosophy. Samuel graduated with three other doctoral candidates including the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police. When asked about how he intends to use this degree, Samuel said “it will be the transfer of the knowledge and experience gained to other generations” through mentorship, public speaking and writing books and other publications.
EduNations remains proud of Samuel’s achievement and grateful for his leadership as his life demonstrates EduNation’s core belief in the value of education.
EduNations’ “Three Amigos”
We thought you might enjoy the story of how EduNations’ new Senior Secondary School brought three young men together in a friendship so close they have earned the nickname of “the Three Amigos” and how their story illustrates how EduNations is changing lives by igniting hope in rural Sierra Leone.
Today, Elvis, Mohamed and Momoh do almost everything together in the new Senior Secondary School in Rokassa. What is the secret of their camaraderie? Well, these three have a lot in common. Momoh lost both his parents during the Ebola crisis in Waterloo and moved to a village close to Rokassa where he heard about the free EduNations school. Elvis lost his dad while he was young and his mom is a peasant farmer in Gbenekoro. Mohamed on the other hand, has both parents alive but they had stopped caring for him since he turned 13.
All three boys attended the EduNations Hope schools in Gbenekoro and Rokassa but dropped out before their final year of Junior Secondary School due to life’s hardships and, perhaps more importantly, since they had lost hope in their future education. According to the boys, they had dropped out since they knew that even if they passed the Basic Education Certificate Examinations at the end of Junior Secondary School, they had no guarantee they would find a Senior Secondary School or be able to get their uniforms, shoes, school supplies or food. Without a way, it was pointless to continue.
This loss of hope was common for many of the students attending EduNations Primary and Junior Secondary Schools. They knew that they could only afford to go to school because EduNations provides everything for free but given no EduNations Senior Secondary school, they always feared that they were getting to the end of their education.
Back to Elvis, Mohamed and Momoh. Without support, each had become homeless, sleeping on tables in marketplaces, fending for themselves by carrying heavy loads on their heads for long distances for their only pay. Some had fallen to stealing to buy rum and marijuana. Their lives were bad and heading for worse. There seemed no hope for them until one day, one of them sent a message to EduNations Psychosocial Coordinator: “Please tell Mummy Fatu that this is where we are now”.
Fatu was heartbroken as she remembered the boys as very bright and promising, so she went every week to the markets to look for them. Eventually, she found them and encouraged them to go back to school convincing them God’s plan for their lives included further education.
Going above and beyond, Fatu made a deal with the three young men that if they would go back to school and pass their external exam, she would sponsor their entire Senior Secondary school education. As you can imagine, they gladly accepted Fatu’s offer.
One year later, Elvis, Mohamed and Momoh have passed the exams and are enrolled in the Senior Secondary school in Rokassa with support from whom they now call “Mummy Fatu”. And the three boys look after each other so closely their nickname of “The Three Amigos” is well earned.
As to their hopes, one of them wants to be a Scientist, another a Medical Doctor and the other an Engineer. Of course, the Senior Secondary School course is for 3 years and the young men have far to go to achieve their dreams. But with your support for EduNations schools, particularly to build the Senior Secondary Schools, there is reason for them to continue to hope.
Gbenekoro Village Gets Its Own Bakery
For the very first time the people of the village of Gbenekoro have their own bakery. Before this anyone who wanted bread or any other baked good would have to travel miles to Kabala. Rather than travel for bread, most people resorted to keeping their dinner rice overnight for breakfast the next day. In a village without electricity or refrigeration, this became not just nutritional lack but also a danger for food poisoning.
The lack of a bakery was felt especially keenly each year after the month of Ramadan’s fast in the majority Muslim village, when so many have to ride motorcycles to Kabala to buy bread to break their fast.
With support from EduNations Microfinance , the construction of the very first bakery in Gbenekoro is in progress and has captured the attention of the community to such an extent that all the people rallied around and sang praises to EduNations for the construction of the bakery.
This development aims to improve both food security and the economic sustainability of the village by creating jobs and trading opportunities, especially for women, who can then better support their children and their schooling. In other villages, we have seen this result in more girls being enrolled in school. With bakeries in Fintonia, Rokassa and now Gbenekoro, EduNations is excited to be enabling the much-needed transformation in these communities through education and economic opportunity.