School’s Out for Summer!

Mid-July was filled with lots of anticipation and excitement as students lined up to receive their end-of-the-year results. To finish out the third and final academic term, students were required to take the Annual Examination, a final exam covering the subject matter taught that year.  This exam, coupled with the students’ attendance and performance throughout the school year, determined their final grades and promotion to the next class level. Before head teachers passed out report cards, they wished the students a good summer break and encouraged them to keep up with their studies.

This 6-week break is purposely given during the wettest time of the year. July and August OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbring the most rains, causing flooding that can prevent students and teachers from getting to and from school. Students typically spend their summer break helping their parents on the farm, studying and spending time with friends and families. The main responsibility on the farm at this time of the year is weeding in the groundnut and rice farms. These popular crops are vital for the overall wellbeing of many families and communities in Sierra Leone because they provide sustenance and profit. When students are not working in the farms, many of them spend their time studying to prepare for the next school year. In talking with one of our students about her summer break she said,

I am enjoying my holiday very much as each day I go to the farm to help my parents and in the evening I take home classes with one of our teachers who did not go for holidays. This good teacher is not a native of our village but decided not to go for holidays so that she could help us. I love and thank my teacher.

We are grateful that are students are enjoying this season of rest and rejuvenation, and we look forward to them returning to school in September!


Help Us Provide Free Schools Supplies to All of our Students!

EduNations’ mission over the past 15 years has been to give forgotten children tangible IMG_0872reasons to hope by providing education and sustainable development. Thanks to the generosity of all our supporters, EduNations has grown quickly and is now building its 15th school which will be our first high school! Currently, EduNations is educating 2,700 children in 6 different remote communities in Sierra Leone. Before EduNations arrived, the students in these villages did not have any access to education because they could not afford to pay school fees. EduNations has promised to provide free education and to work with the communities towards sustainability.

As part of our free education program, EduNations provides students with uniforms and school supplies at the beginning of each school year. At the start of the 2019-2020 school year in September, we will be providing school supplies to over 2,700 students. Our goal is to raise $19,000 over the next month to provide our students with pencils, pens, chalkboards, books, paper, and more! Would you help us reach our goal? It costs less than $10 to provide school supplies for 1 student, so every little bit helps!

DONATE TO OUR MOST PRESSING NEED

We are grateful for all of you who continue to support this next generation of students in Sierra Leone.


The Trip of a Lifetime

We could never accurately express our gratitude for our supporters who give up their time and comforts to travel across the world to Sierra Leone and serve using their gifts and talents. In mid-July, a team of 10 people traveled over to Sierra Leone to do just this. Below is the testimony of team member, Kim Zippie, who experienced EduNations’ work in Sierra Leone for the first time.

“While going to Africa was a goal for the Zippie brothers since graduating from Penn zippiesState, and on a “bucket” list for their father, Dan, it was NEVER even a consideration for their mother, Kim…that is until God opened the door to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.    The Zippies were invited to join the team of EduNations founder, Dr. Dean Weaver, his wife Beth, their two Sierra Leonean adopted children, Isaac and Isatu, as well as Sarah Pietryga, EduNations’ Development Coordinator, and Paul Housman, Memorial Park’s Pastor of Missions.   The trip had two significant goals.  The first was to reunite Isaac and Isatu with their biological families in the village of Rokassa (the second time for Isaac and the first time for Isatu); and the second goal was for Dr. Dean to reconnect with the community members of each EduNations village site, as well as confirm his support for the tremendous work of EduNations’ President, Samuel Sesay.  The Zippies were honored and privileged to share in both.  They witnessed the joy of families reunited and ancestry roots deepened; learned about tribal culture, structures and the economy; experienced new foods and traditions; played soccer; and fell in love with the Sierra Leonean people who welcomed them in profound ways.  However, they never imagined what would impact them the most:  the EduNations staff, and the influence they’re having on the people of Sierra Leone.   Sharing food, laughter, hours on the road (or “off-road”), concerns, and challenges provided ample opportunities to see the hearts and minds of the EduNations team.  It was abundantly clear that the core OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAteam members in both Sierra Leone and the United States are focused and committed to their mission of providing tangible hope through the education of the forgotten children of Sierra Leone.  Each team member has special gifts and strengths that make them uniquely qualified to fill vital roles in the organization.  Samuel is incredibly bold and discerning; Rev. Koroma is an amazing diplomat and educationally wise; Fatu is fearless and bold as an advocate and voice for children; Isaac is gifted in understanding the intricacies of finance; Beth has a maternal passion to provide for the needs of children and those who serve them; and Sarah has a deep desire to find the resources to support EduNations’ work.  Additionally, it was extremely clear that the team’s commitment to operate with absolute integrity plays a huge role in the success of this mission.  Over and over again words of appreciation and respect were shared by religious, village, and government leaders.  These included District Deputies of Education, village chiefs, Imams, and one of the most (if not the most) influential Paramount Chiefs in the country.  Without question, the Zippie family is “all in” to support and promote the work of EduNations.  Their divinely-appointed, eye-witness accounts of such powerful work will last a lifetime!”


It’s Time to Raise the Roof!

The roof is being raised on the Rokassa Junior and Senior Secondary School (middle and high school) and we are so excited! We are hopeful that the students in Rokassa will start attending junior secondary school in the 1st floor of the new building come September. We are thankful to all those who have helped provide the funds to get us to this point.roof 6

The construction work started in January 2019 and had the walls of the second floor up by the end of July. Now the carpenter is laying the roofing foundation which is the last step before the zinc roof gets put on.  At the same time, the plastering and paving of the 1st floor is in progress, as well as the installment of the plumbing and electricity. All of this must be completed before students can use the building for classes in September.

The building is two stories and has 16 classrooms, complete with a library, computer laboratory, science laboratory and offices for school administrators and teachers. Six of roof 1the classrooms will be used by the junior secondary school and the nine by the senior secondary classes. This school has the capacity to provide education for 600-800 students. It is the dream of EduNations to provide education to these students in an academic community that is away from the distraction of the cities. In a location that is more than 50 miles away from the nearest big town, we believe that students will not be as susceptible to the growing and uncontrollable social problems that is on the rise in Sierra Leone, such as gangs and drug abuse.

We are so grateful for the privilege of helping to educate the next generation in Sierra Leone. Thanks to all of you who continue to partner with us as we carry out this important work and thank you especially to everybody who helped provide the funding for the construction of this building.  We cannot wait for it to be filled with students!


Over 800 Menstrual Kits Provided for Female Students

For the past 15 years, EduNations has been committed to providing tangible hope through the education of the forgotten children of Africa. While we focus most of our resources on building and operating our schools, our mission goes beyond just the school buildings. We understand that empowering a child begins with education. Educating a child begins with making sure they are healthy and equipped. That’s why we provide our female students with Days for Girls (DFG) Kits.

Back in 2017, EduNations’ Psychosocial Coordinator, Fatu Koroma, noticed that many WhatsApp Image 2018-04-10 at 10.54.18 AMfemale students were missing up to a week of school each month due to not having proper resources to manage their menstrual cycle. Through partnerships with two organizations, Days for Girls International and Schools for Salone, we began purchasing and providing reusable menstrual kits to our female students in need. Each $10 DFG kit comes with two pairs of underwear, a washcloth, a bar of soap, eight absorbent liners, two waterproof shields, two Ziploc bags for washing and storage, care and use instructions, and a fashionable drawstring bag to carry everything in. Providing these kits made a noticeable difference in not only our female students’ attendance, but also their confidence. While we have already provided over 400 kits to our students, the need continues to grow as more and more students reach their teenage years.

Valencia TeamThis past Spring, we were generously blessed by Schools for Salone and the Days for Girls chapter in Valencia, Pennsylvania. In honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, Schools for Salone offered us a 90% discount and we were able to purchase 400 DFG kits through them! Around the same time, we were connected with the Days for Girls chapter in Valencia, PA. This chapter – which consists of a large group of women who meet at a church every Monday morning to sew DFG kits – reached out to us with a desire to donate kits to our organization.  In June our President and Development Coordinator, Samuel Sesay and Sarah Pietryga, had the opportunity to go and meet with this group of women, see their work firsthand, and speak to them about what EduNations does. The time spent with this group was fruitful and Sarah and Samuel walked out that day with 410 more donated kits in hand!

We are so excited to start this school year with over 800 brand new kits that we can pass out to female students in need. They will be thrilled! We cannot say thank you enough to both of these generous organizations who made this possible.


The Hands that Build and Wipe Tears

We are proud to employ some of the best, most qualified teachers at our EduNations schools. Brima George Koroma, a teacher at EduNations Hope Academy in Mapainda, is no exception. Below is a poem that he recently wrote and delivered to our staff.

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The Hands that Build and Wipe Tears

We were scorched, abandoned, and hopeless
We were the story to tell.
To those in war, the poorest and the deprived
We were the poor souls of Africa, the emaciated and the burnt.
Our long war hunts our generation to scourges
Diseases sinking every hope that betters us
And taking use to morning graveyards.

And we would have remained so
Had EduNations Inc. not come.

Education despises us
And the once called Athens of West Africa
Our immediate ignorance quarrels with that history.
We were powerless and indeed we were.
And we would have remained so
Had EduNations Inc. not come.

We could have been in our small farms
Planting grains of small lives and small hopes.
We could have been drenched in the rains with dry breasts
To feed our teenage babies of no pride.
We could have been another weak foundation
And with no sense of community development.
We could have been more miseries unto our lives
And the comedy of stable communities.
And we would have remained so
Had EduNations Inc. not come.

But you saw us a thousand miles away
Emaciated, hopeless and fading away.
We share neither your blood nor language
But you brought faith to us
Through the good news
That there is a living God
A loving God, and a powerful God.
You connected our hearts in love.
You gave us sight to see the other part of life.
You changed our lives, from nothing to something, from nobody to somebody.
You gave us the power to read
To learn for a change
To speak against the odds of society, and for God.
You blew life in our weak spirit by “igniting hope”.
You are nobody but EduNations Inc.

For that we pledge to be your ambassadors.
We are grateful and believe in your visions.
We are an example of your manifestations
Your clean dreams and good spirit.
We believe in the leadership of Dr. Dean and Samuel Saidu Sesay
And we can trust you, again and again.
You are the hands that build and wipe tears.