Bicycles Shortening Students’ Commutes
Can you imagine how tired you would be if you had to walk 8 miles to school each day? Bicycles are making these students’ commutes much easier.
As you may know, EduNations provides top-notch education to students in six major communities and surrounding villages in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. What you may not know is that most students who attend EduNations’ schools are from these surrounding villages, with some walking up to eight miles to school each day. The students enjoy school but find themselves exhausted after walking the long distance to and from school each day.
In response to this, EduNations is partnering with the Village Bicycle Project, whose mission is to provide donated bicycles and bicycle repair training in developing countries where the only transportation available to many people is walking. Not only do the bicycles shorten students’ commute to school each day, but they also instil a sense of pride of ownership and teach responsibility as they care for their bikes.
The Village Bicycle Project donated 20 bicycles to students attending Mapainda Junior Secondary School and Gbenekoro Junior Secondary School in the 2017-2018 school year. This year, they have provided 100 more bicycles at a low cost of $22/bike to students who walk a far distance to school every day.
As you might imagine, the students are thrilled to receive these bikes. One student responded this way:
My trouble of walking the long distance each day to school and back has come to end; meaning I can now concentrate in class and do well in my studies.
Thank you to all those who contributed towards the purchase of these bicycles!
A New Clinic Blesses Many
The Orfonthy Community Health Center (OCHC) started operations on Monday October 23rd, 2017, seeing over 500 patients in the first month alone. As we celebrate one year of its opening, we are delighted to bring you these updates.
Lack of access to medical services is one of the key problems that many communities in Sierra Leone face, the villages home to EduNations schools included. In the village of Rokassa, people routinely contracted curable diseases and fell very ill, sometimes resulting in death, because the nearest medical care was such a far distance away. As a result, many EduNations students missed school frequently. To address this problem, EduNations partnered with Jericho Road Community Health Center to build the Orfonthy Community Health Center.
Since its formal opening, OCHC continues to serve a great number of patients in Rokassa and neighboring communities. Jericho Road leads operations of the clinic, with six local staff who see an average of 300 patients each month, most of them being EduNations students, who receive medical care at no charge.
Starting in September 2018, OCHC began providing much needed maternity services. So far, the staff have helped to deliver three babies in Rokassa, the first born a when the mother showed up to the clinic in labor. Although the maternity section had not been officially offering services at that point, the staff were able to provide support as she delivered a healthy baby boy who was named after the clinic. The second and third babies – one boy and one girl – were born in the clinic just within the last month and blessed the full operations of the maternity ward.
Sponsor a Student, Change a Life
If you have been a part of the EduNations Student Sponsorship program, we thank you! You’ve been a profound blessing by supporting your student’s education in an EduNations school and have hopefully received much joy through following your student’s growth and years of progress.
The opportunity of continued education is especially transforming for our female students who would most likely not continue past primary school without the support of EduNations.
For less than a dollar a day ($28/month or $336/year), sponsorship provides a boy or girl all they need for school – including uniforms, school supplies, professionally trained teachers, as well as clean water and latrines.
EduNations currently has 250 active sponsors and we hope to add 100 more partners over the next year who will sponsor a student. With a total number of 2,739 students registered across all of our schools for the 2018-2019 academic year, there is much room for growth!
Please prayerfully consider making a life-changing difference for a girl or boy by sponsoring them this school year. If you have been a sponsor in the past and wish to re-engage, you will have the opportunity to bless a new student. For more information, contact Beth Weaver at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Student Sponsorship Page.
Thank you for partnering with EduNations by sponsoring a student’s life-changing education!
New Christian Teachers
We are praising God for how he answered our prayers for teachers at newly opened schools!
Just a few months ago, before the start of the 2018-2019 academic year, we were praying for the Lord to send workers to several new EduNations schools; three new nursery schools in Mabum, Fintonia, and Mapainda, and additional teachers for the Rokassa Junior Secondary. The number of teachers needed to serve in the new schools was quite significant, and while finding qualified teachers is not difficult, getting qualified Christian teachers willing to teach in remote villages as missionary teachers is extremely difficult. We were becoming worried as the beginning of the year was quickly approaching and we had not received any applications.
Then the Lord opened our eyes once again to His goodness. A Christian student organization held a conference at a university for teachers, and someone shared about EduNations’ work with graduating students. The Lord touched the hearts of fourteen whom then decided to apply for teaching positions with EduNations schools. It was at dawn one day when we received a call from the regional head of the organization to tell us of their interest. With the help of the Lord, the number of applicants grew and we received about 40 applications in just one week! We invited 34 for an interview and selected 18 well-qualified Christian teachers!
The Lord proved himself again in a wonderful way by bringing his workers to fill the teaching positions. He showed how powerfully He could move in every detail of our operation when we depend totally on his unfailing provision. We continue to trust His leadership as EduNations works with both new and experienced staff in serving the least of these in Sierra Leone.
A Trampoline Brings Joy!
For the first time ever, the students of the EduNations schools in Rokassa are experiencing the joy of jumping on a trampoline! How did a trampoline come to Rokassa? Its purchase was made possible thanks to the fund raising efforts of the youth of Memorial Park Church.
How did they raise the money for the trampoline? First, students from the youth group fasted for 25 hours during an event called “Fast for Leone” after having secured contributions from sponsors for their fast. Second, children attending the “Summer Surge” summer camp either contributed their own money or went door-to-door asking neighbors for their support. Both were efforts of students in the US who wanted to bless EduNations students.
After it was assembled, the staff and students watched videos that instructed them in how to properly use a trampoline. These were very helpful since they had never experienced anything like a trampoline before.
As they jumped and bounced on the trampoline with most of the village of Rokassa watching, the village Chief exclaimed;
Oh life! One can actually jump and fall down and it’s not dangerous!!!
It’s impossible to describe just how much joy, fun and camaraderie that the trampoline brings to the Rokassa school community.
The trampoline in Rokassa is just the first step in fulfilling a bigger dream of building a playground in all six communities with EduNations schools since playgrounds support a more complete holistic learning approach. We pray that God will bless the children and students at Memorial Park who made this first step possible.
New Government, New Initiatives
This past March, a new government was elected in Sierra Leone. Just six months into governance, Sierra Leone’s new democratically elected President, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, fulfilled one of his campaign promises by launching the flagship initiative of free and quality education on Monday, August 20th. This initiative ensures increased access to government-assisted schools for all Sierra Leonean children from Nursery to Senior Secondary levels and it is estimated that over 1.5 million children will benefit.
During the launch of the program, the government affirmed the initiative will receive support from donor partners – including UK Aid, World Bank, Irish Aid, World Food Program and UNICEF. The free education program will be phased over five years. The initiative will waive the payment of tuition and admission fees, as well as provide teaching and learning materials with an initial emphasis on English language and mathematics text books to all secondary schools in the country. Moreover, this program will take on payment for public examination fees such as the National Primary School Examination (NPSE), Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and West Africa Senior Secondary School Examination (WASSCE). Although the initiative is only for students in government schools and government-assisted schools, EduNations and other mission and private schools are offered the opportunity to apply to the government through the Ministry of Basic Education and Senior Secondary Schools to become government-assisted schools and benefit from the project. EduNations has made the decision to engage the government through the Ministry of Basic Education and Senior Secondary School for the benefit of our students and their communities.
We are pleased to report that EduNations has already had two encouraging meetings with the Minister of Basic Education and Senior Secondary Schools, Dr. Alpha Timbo, as well as with the Deputy Directors of Education in the five districts where our schools are operated. The goal of all these meetings is to ensure that our students benefit from the free quality education initiative by way of the provision of school supplies and payment of teachers’ salaries and subsidies.
Our hope is that participation in this program will not only lighten EduNations’ financial burden and improve our relationship with the government, but also that we can continue to increase the amount of under-privileged students we serve. While we are thankful for the prospects of the new initiatives, if approved, the government support will only cover a small portion of our operational expenses, so we greatly value your continued support of our mission as we continue to serve the children in Sierra Leone.
A New Bakery in Fintonia
Since Fintonia is an isolated community, it is not easy – sometimes near impossible – to reach the nearest market to buy food. The people of Fintonia had yearned for a bakery in their village so that they could have access to fresh bread.
The Fintonia Bakery Project is part of a larger goal towards village sustainability. Not only does it provide bread, but it also provides opportunities for employment and fresh bread for the students of the Fintonia EduNations Academies. To multiply the impact of the funds provided for the project, the initial income will be reinvested in order to pay back the initial start-up investment and make these funds available to support future sustainability projects in Fintonia and other EduNations communities.
Today, the bakery produces bountiful bread each day for the people of Fintonia. Providing for themselves also builds a vision within the Fintonia people of a self-sustainable, prosperous community. EduNations is optimistic to use this model in similar projects in other communities.