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Project in Masantigie (Western Area Rural)

History of the project In 2003, after an absence of 27 years, I returned to Sierra Leone during my school holidays to join my husband who was there on a special mission for the United Nations. Being a teacher, I was naturally interested in the education sector, and immediately noticed the lack of adequate schooling. This gave me the desire to try to do something for at least some of the children I met. Four rural villages, situated at approximately 40 km from Freetown and only accessible by a four-wheel drive car, were selected for the project. As the closest school was a walking distance of 10 km away the children of these villages had no access to primary education.

2003-2004: – Construction of the first school building providing primary education for some 120 children from Masantigie and three neighbouring villages. The building was built thanks to some generous sponsors in Sierra Leone, the Unites Nations Women’s Guild of Geneva and the International School of Geneva, les Marronniers. 2005 : – Construction of a well funded by the students of International School of Geneva, les Marronniers. 2006 and 2007 : – Extension of the school : a second building and two additional classrooms were built thanks to Pee Cee and Sons Freetown and the parents and students of the International School of Geneva, Les Marronniers. – Professional training for 4 teachers was provided by” Education for All / Pour Tous”. 2008- 2009 : – Construction of the third building , 3 additional classrooms and an office funded by the parents and students of the International School of Geneva, les Marronniers. – Organisation of literacy classes and sewing classes by “Education For all / Pour Tous”. 2010: – Recrutement of 2 additional teachers and a tailor paid by Pee Cee and Sons, Freetown . – 245 children are now registered in the school. 2011 : – Registration of the school by the Government of Sierra Leone.

2012 and 2013 : – Charity concert organized by the United Nations Orchestra in Geneva. CHF 17 000 were collected and used to equip the school learning/teaching ressources, training and equipment for the vocational center. – Repainting of the buildings. – College training provided for 3 teachers (a course of 3 years) financed by “Education For All/ Pour Tous”. 2013 : – Grant received from the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations’ International Development Fund (IDF) to pay for the toilets for teachers, furniture, additional sewing machines, embroidery machines with complementary power sources, as well as miscellaneous sewing materials. 2014 : – Start of the sponsorship program : 28 students are now sponsored by Education For All thanks to some private sponsors. – Start of an agricultural pilot program : twelve women from Masantigie and 12 of Matainke volunteered to participate. – Start of the Ebola epidemic virus in Sierra Leone. The first victim died on May 24. 2015 : – The schools are closed and the country is paralyzed because of the Ebola virus epidemic. The virus caused major loss of life and disruption in the country. – “Education For All / Pour Tous” sends packages to Sierra Leone to help its people. The parents of the International School of Geneva prepared the packages which included disinfectant, soap, towels and clothes for the neediest people. – Organisation of a cultural evening in favour of the victims of Ebola in presence of Asania, the Sierra Leonian singer and Mrs Yvette Stevens, the Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the United Nations. The children and parents of the International School participated at this special evening and CHF 20 000 were raised to help the victims and their families to cope with this difficult time. – On 7 November 2015, Sierra Leone is officially declared Ebola free. 2016 : – Increase of our scholarship program to 35 students. – 350 children are now attending the Primary School. – The school received financial assistance from the Ministry of Education of Sierra Leone in June 2016. 2017 – 2018 : – The construction of the fourth and final building started in April 2017. This building was financed by the City of Geneva and Mr Newman Leech , Geneva Management Group. – September 2017 : the first salaries were paid by the Sierra Leonean government. – Extension of our scholarship program thanks to a partnership with Fotis which sponsors 10 students. We now sponsor 45 Secondary School students. 20 September 2018 : – Handover and opening of the fourth building allows us to open new classrooms and hire two additional teachers. The local authorities were present at the opening. – 400 children are registered for the academic year 2018-2019 2019-2020 Solar panels have been installed which allow the scholarship students to study at school in the evening. The solar panels were financed by the United Nations Women’s Guild of Geneva.

The students from the Vocational Institute can now use embroidery machines and improve the quality of their work. – 454 children are attending the Primary School during the academic year 2019- 2020 -Two new teachers have been hired and 2 new classes have been created as some classes are overcrowded. – 27 students are attending the Vocational Institute – A Community Hall will be built to serve the school and the communities of Masantigie, Matainke, Masorie and Paloko. Activities for the women of the villages will be launched after the completion of the construction. Mars 2020 -Because of the COVID-19, all schools have been closed in the country. A lockdown has been imposed by the government which causes more hardship to the people. The women of the villages have trouble feeding their families. Education For All has organized food distributions in partnership with FOTIS.

May 2020 Construction of an Assembly Hall for the Primary School and for the people of the 4 communities of Masantigie, Matainke, Masorie and Pa Loko.

Thanks to this construction, the 4 communities as well as the children, parents and teachers will have a place to meet and will be sheltered from the sun because it is very hot in this area and during the rainy season it is impossible to organize any meetings. Construction began on October 29, 2019 and the hall will be ready at the start of the new school year, September 2020. The hall is financed by the international solidarity fund of the City of Geneva (DGVS) and by the NGO”Education Pour Tous / For All in Sierra Leone.

November 2020 Workshops and training offered to women from the villages of Masantigie, Matainke, Masouri and Pa Loko . They will end in until June 2021and are financed by the service club Soroptimist, Oostende, Belgium. Workshops: Manufacturing of baskets, soap and weaving workshops Training : literacy classes, hygiene classes and family planning

2021 : IT Project Thanks to a donation from the Foundation, Gertrude Hirzel we were able to purchase and send 22 Samsung tablets. The Internet subscription was paid for by the Foundation along with the salary of a professor of technology. Classes started to the delight of the children. The educational apps will enable children to improve their reading, writing and numeracy skills. The teachers will also have the opportunity to train and we hope to offer online training and exchanges with the children. We need a lot more equipment as 22 tablets is not really enough for the number of students we have. Special thanks the NGO “Reboot 2 kids “ who prepared the tablets and installed all the apps. Vocational Center A group of 26 young people (men and women) have started sewing classes which will last three years. After their graduation at the end of the second year, the students will receive a sewing machine so they can start their own business. In the third year, they will work at home under the supervision of their sewing teacher. This was possible thanks to a grant from the City of Plan-les-Ouates and your support. Activities for women We continue to organize the activities which started in 2021 , The activities and workshops, which are very successful, are carried out by a nurse and trainers.

2022: IT Project Thanks to a donation from the City of Plan-les-Ouates , we were able to purchase 25 additional Samsung tablets. We now have enough tablets to use for an entire classroom and we can also offer IT classes to the class 4 children. The teachers received an on line pedagogical training. 4 second hand computers were donated so that they can start IT training the two days the IT teacher is available. Scholarships for the 2021-2022 school year 50 former students of the Masantigie school benefit from a scholarship allowing them to continue their Secondary Education. Many thanks to FOTIS, which sponsors 15 children, and to our faithful private sponsors, who sponsor 35 children. Your continued support is essential as the students and families go through a lot of hardship and it is difficult for them to make ends meet. Your help is much appreciated. It is always very difficult and heartbreaking to make a choice when taking new students on board. We are proud to inform you that the students have been performing well this year and that we now also have some girls at university. It is always lovely to see them and to witness they have become lovely young people. Vocational Center A group of 31 young people (men and women) are enrolled in our program. On 16 December, 10 of them graduated as they have finished their training which lasted two years. ”Education For All” organized their graduation ceremony and also gave a sewing machine so that they can start their professional career as a tailor. We also provided kits with sewing materials on graduation day so that the graduates will not have any financial constraints to start their business. The third year, they will work at home under the supervision of their sewing teacher while the remaining 21 students will continue their training.

Partnership with Reboots2kids Thanks to the partnership with Reboot2kids, we have installed a solar pump in the existing borehole which pumps water into the 5000 liter storage tank. From the tank the water is filtered. From the filter, the water is routed to two water taps. This allows children to drink filtered water and reduce illnesses such as diarrhea. We also built two concrete hand washing stations. Clean hands reduce contamination when handling cups and objects. We have organized workshops for the children to understand why clean water and personal hygiene are important for their health.

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