Providing basic human needs for impoverished students and staff and increasing education resources.
Describe the need affecting community
Birthed in 1968, by the Sierra Leone UMC Annual Conference and alumni of the Harford Secondary School for Girls, this school represents the fulfillment of a dream of June Hartranft, a beloved Evangelical United Brethren missionary from Ephrata, Pennsylvania, principal, and teacher at the Harford Secondary School for Girls in remote Moyamba, Sierra Leone. This primary school now serves as a vital feeder school, providing basic academic instruction and critical life skills within a loving Christian environment. This United Methodist Church school has students ages 6 to 11 or 12 years old. It is a boarding school that draws children from Moyamba and other extremely remote villages and is spoken of with high esteem within the Sierra Leone UM Conference and the country of Sierra Leone, West Africa. When the recent Civil War invaded the Moyamba District, as rebels attacked and looted the school in 1995, school staff grabbed students, hid in the bushes, and ultimately fled to Freetown and perceived safety. Due to the fierce dedication of the Headmistress, Jane Lahai, and surviving staff, a dilapidated garage was quickly transformed into a crude schoolhouse and word was spread throughput Freetown that education and hope prevailed even in the midst of a Civil War and death. When the rebels moved north into Freetown and attacked this school location in 1996, the school staff chose to return to Moyamba and reclaim, rebuild and restore the school. They were greeted with the devastating news of the death of many students’ parents and family members and burned out homes. Poverty unlike any seen before prevailed. The school has been rebuilt despite its impoverished surroundings and the visible scars still healing in the aftermath of the Civil War. Total student enrollment of 478 students includes 70 boarding students and 408 commuters. These commuters walk miles through rugged bush each day from their remote villages to attend school. Teachers and staff receive little if any pay. While the tuition of the boarding school students and resourceful management of the school in the midst of scarcity results in 3 daily meals for all boarding students, the commuters receive only a meager lunch on Mondays and Fridays (funds received to honor the legacy of June Hartranft, once a member of the community of First UMC, Ephrata, Pennsylvania – the other school days they go hungry, resulting in malnutrition, lethargy in the classrooms and sub-standard performance in their academics. First UMC, Ephrata, Pennsylvania gifted funds for the construction of outhouses and the purchase of a generator, the only source of electricity for the School/Moyamba community. More partners are needed to assist the School in the aftermath of the destruction of the school grounds during the Civil War, its inadequate daily feeding program for non-boarding students, lack of educational resources (text and library books, basic school supplies), stark classrooms, need for solar panels to power computer labs and a mini-bus. Girls generally are under-privileged in rural Sierra Leone and hence mostly deprived of educational opportunities.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
(1) Nutrition plan for 3 daily meals for all 472 students during the school year 2016-17 and ongoing (2) Purchase of a bus to benefit the School and community, particularly the large commuting student body of 402 students (3) Build living quarters for staff and Head Teacher (4) Establish a school library (5) Secure stipends for underpaid and non-paid teachers (6) Install solar panels to subsequently establish computer labs (7) Purchase 150 bunk beds and mattresses for Boarding School students/staff (8) Replace crumbling ceilings and repaint classrooms and boarding quarters (9) Establish recreational facilities.
Describe the primary goal of the project
(1) Nutrition plan – daily meals for all 472 students and 22 auxiliary staff/teachers during the school year 2016-17 and ongoing – to employ local qualified persons – 2 additional cooks, increase purchase of (cooking) wood from local farmers, purchase additional food supplies/cooking items from local market women (2) Purchase of a $30,000 new mini-bus, w/ proper licensing and employment of a secured, licensed driver (through an identified reputable car dealer in Freetown) for the immediate benefit of the large commuting student body, and for business uses by the school including medical, academic opportunities, or other emergencies (3) Build on campus living quarters for staff and Head Teacher -1 private 3-room apartment for Head Teacher and 4 private 2-room apartments for teachers (4) Establish a school library – Use existing contacts to identify potential partnerships – rotary clubs, schools (5) Secure (22) stipends for underpaid or non-paid teachers/workers (6) Install solar panels to then establish computer lab (60 computers) in wing off new library (7) 150 bunk bed frames and 150 mattresses for Boarding School (8) Replace/rebuild school classrooms and boarding school – replace old cracked, crumbling ceilings in existing buildings and paint classrooms, Administration building, Assembly Hall, Boarding Home, Dining Room and Recreational building (9) Recreational facilities for students (school and community) – swinging poles, tether ball poles, playing fields and related sports equipment primary goal is to provide meals for girls so that they can stay in school. The long term goal is providing education for under-privileged girls.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project
1. More girls attaining education. 2. Healthier, well-fed and happy school girls. 3. A literate community with more empowered women.