A New Secondary School
Thanks to significant contributions from an anonymous donor and a partner church, EduNations commenced the construction of the Rokassa Boarding Home Secondary School on January 8th, 2019. The ground-breaking ceremony was led by the President of EduNations and attended by hundreds of community members, including students and staff of the Hope Academies in Rokassa.
Here’s why this step is such a blessing.
In the fifteen years since it was founded, EduNations has made tremendous progress to overcome many challenges to provide quality education to the poor, unreached communities in Sierra Leone. Currently, EduNations runs 15 schools in six rural communities in the northern region, providing free education to over 2,700 students in Nursery, Primary and Junior Secondary Schools. In the US, this is equivalent of educating children up to Grade 9. Since the commencement of operations in Sierra Leone, about 2,300 pupils have graduated from EduNations schools. Unfortunately, about 50 percent of the schoolchildren who graduate from EduNations’ Junior Secondary Schools do not continue their education due to the lack of a nearby Senior Secondary School. In 2019, 300 students are expected to graduate from EduNations schools, and without a free Senior Secondary School, half of them are expected to drop out of the school system.
For the other half of graduated students who do have the resources to attend a Senior Secondary School in another town or city, there are still significant challenges. After a long period of academic and moral teaching at EduNations schools, these graduated students go to nearby cities to fend for themselves in their quest to acquire a high school education. Unfortunately, many of them fall prey to predatory relatives or acquaintances who abuse them, causing them to return home to their parents physically and emotionally drained. These issues have caused many children in the EduNations communities to view attending school as a waste of time and resources.
It is from this dire and grim situation that EduNations developed a vision to start the Rokassa Boarding Home Secondary School. This school will be located in Rokassa – a rural community in Masimra Chiefdom in Port Loko District, Northern Sierra Leone – where EduNations currently operates a Kindergarten, Primary and Junior Secondary School. Rokassa is about 80 miles from Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown, and about 30 miles from Masiaka town, where the nearest Senior Secondary School in the district can be found. Rokassa is surrounded by 37 small villages that have Primary and Junior Secondary Schools but no Senior Secondary School. The Rokassa Boarding Home Secondary School will not only serve Rokassa and its surrounding villages, but all the villages where EduNations schools are currently located. Once this school is in full operation, students from all the other EduNations Junior Secondary Schools will be able to move to Rokassa, live in the boarding home facilities and complete their education in a safe environment.
Through God’s faithfulness, a very generous anonymous donor has provided a significant amount of funds to help start the project. This wonderful news was received with great joy and celebrations in all the schools when it was announced. Many students expressed a hope that they can finally be sure of completing their education. Another celebration occurred when a very generous partner church of EduNations donated another substantial amount of funds towards the Rokassa Boarding Home Secondary School. These donations will enable us to achieve 75% of the first phase of the project by July 2019.
We are grateful for God’s amazing provision so far and continue to pray that He will provide funds to complete the project. If you feel led to help this dream become a reality, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. May God bless you for considering this.
One Year of Medical Service
2018 marked the one-year anniversary of the Orfonthy Community Health Center (OCHC) in Rokassa which is run by our partner, Jericho Road Community Health Center. The goal of OCHC is to provide affordable medical care to EduNations students and other community members who otherwise would not have access to healthcare. Below is a brief update from Jericho Road’s CEO, Myron Glick, during his recent trip to Rokassa.
Yesterday, we visited our health center in Rokassa (Orfonthy Community Health Center) and were able to work alongside the small on-site team to do a one-day medical clinic. Orfonthy CHC is located in a remote village off the beaten path and is about a five-hour drive from Adama Martha Memorial CHC. There are about 500 people in this village of mostly mud huts.
Jericho Road operates in Rokassa at the invitation of our sister organization, EduNations, a Buffalo-based NGO. EduNations has provided Rokassa with three schools (serving grades pre-K through 9), a clean water well, a church, and, now by partnering with us, a health center. Jericho Road just celebrated our one-year anniversary in Rokassa (celebration is pictured).
Our clinic is open six days a week and our staff includes a CHO, two nurses, one medical assistant, a janitor, and a traditional birth attendant. We provide primary medical care, deliver babies (officially started this service in September and have delivered six so far) and some overnight inpatient care. Yesterday, I saw many patients including 25 men who needed hernia repairs. Every time I see someone with a large hernia who has had this for years, it reminds me of how much still needs to be done. Each person basically told me the same thing, which is that they could not afford to get surgery and so they live with it somehow, someway.
Our goal for 2019 is to outfit an operating room in Rokassa and bring our surgical team from AMMCHC periodically to do these surgeries. It will truly be a life-changing blessing to these hardworking rural farmers.
In order to do this, we need a basic anesthesia machine, a cautery unit, a surgical lamp, a table, and an oxygen concentrator. This would cost about $15,000. We are confident we will find a way to do this in 2019 with the help of our amazing supporters.
Thank you to everyone who has brought Orfonthy CHC to life. We are excited to see what God has in store for the village of Rokassa!
The month of December was a sweet time for the EduNations community in Sierra Leone as staff, teachers, and students came together to celebrate the Christmas season through an annual Candle Light Procession, School Picnic, and Staff Party.
THE CANDLE LIGHT PROCESSION
How sweet it was for our EduNations children to come together in the humble fellowship of our annual candle light procession in songs of joy and psalms of revival. It was an inspiration to see them in their EduNations uniforms standing before the Lord singing beautiful songs of life.
As part of EduNations’ ceremonial activities this year, pupils in all EduNations schools gathered together on December 19th to praise the Lord in songs of thanksgiving for God’s guidance and provision in their academic activities in 2018. The students were given candles as they assembled in their schools and were encouraged in prayer by the school Chaplain. With the help of their teachers, the pupils lit their candles, stood in straight lines according to their height, and lifted their voices unto the Lord our God. The students then proceeded in line from their schools to the central part of their communities holding lit candles. The candles symbolized the light and salvation of the coming of Jesus Christ as well as the illumination of education. The students sang hymns and implored their community members to support their academic endeavors and to fellowship with the Lord in love and peace.
SCHOOL CHRISTMAS PICNICS
Gathering together like a big family, teachers and students celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ with the EduNations Christmas Picnic on December 20th. The celebration began with students in all our schools, from Nursery to Junior Secondary, gathering together in the school compound to sing beautiful songs of love, unity, peace and serenity. The schools then prepared food and all the pupils came together to eat with the teachers as a family. After the meal, students performed a Christmas play, reenacting the birth of Jesus as described in the Bible and finished the celebration with Christmas carols. This was a wonderful day of fellowship with one another and encouraged a greater sense of community throughout our schools.
The 2018 EduNations Staff Party on December 21st was a special time of joy and celebration as teachers and staff from all of our six communities came together to celebrate Christmas. The party began with fellowship over a meal of meat, fish, salad, fruit, and ice cream. The staff enjoyed this quality time spent together unencumbered by work.
In addition to the food and fellowship, a friendly debate was conducted with each community represented by one participant. Debate topics revolved around school operations and student/teacher interactions. After the debate, an organized discussion took place that focused on the success of the students. Teachers from various communities were asked to give their perspectives and offer strategies that could address key challenges. The celebration ended with a devotion and speech from EduNations’ President, Samuel Sesay.
Six hours of joy, fun, and relaxation after a year of intense academic activities served as additional motivation for the staff. The party reinforced the staff’s sense of belonging to the EduNations family, encouraged them to greater commitment to the vision of EduNations, and highlighted the joy of working together to serve God. The staff remains grateful to Memorial Park Church and The Giving Tree for the special contribution that made the party possible.
Performing well on basic exams is a critical element of completing each stage of education in Sierra Leone. Passing exams administered at the end of Primary, Junior Secondary, and Senior Secondary School allows the student to proceed to the next level as well as to evaluate their progress in comparison to the other students in Sierra Leone.
EduNations works hard to provide free, quality education for its students. Though EduNations schools are located in very remote and deprived communities without other educational facilities, these disadvantages are overcome, by God’s grace, with the devoted work of trained, qualified and committed teachers. EduNations is proud of the outstanding performance of our students on these exams.
Below is a summary of the participation and results in the 2018 examinations:
Primary School: EduNations sent 125 students for the National Primary School Examination (NPSE). About 90% of EduNations’ students passed and were qualified for entry into Junior Secondary Schools.
Junior Secondary School: EduNations had 67 candidates complete Junior Secondary School and sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). About 80% of EduNations’ students passed and were qualified for entry into Senior Secondary Schools.
Thank you to all of our supporters who continue to believe in our mission to ignite hope through education.