Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Street Children Welcome Umubano to Summer School

When we arrived in Makeni, north of Freetown, we were struck by its beauty despite the chaotic environment and harsh surroundings.

The Street Child of Sierra Leone (SCoSL) Children’s Centre sits at the edge of town and provides educational and medical support to around 150 children. This sector of society is the most vulnerable, many of whom have lost their parents during the war, and they live on the streets of Makeni in one of the poorest counties in the world.

As part of Project Umubano we are running the summer school programme that aims to prepare the street children to enrol into schools in September.
In order to achieve this goal, we have been teaching subjects ranging from Maths to English and Social Studies. After our first six hour day, the whole school came together for a debrief. Many of the children expressed their gratitude and thanks for our help in teaching these subjects and for the effort that we have all made to visit them from the UK.

A lot of children explained how confident they now feel after having held a pen for the first time. Other children explained how they wanted to pass their school exams and become engineers, doctors and teachers.

The energy and thirst for knowledge amongst these children has impressed and touched us all, their curiosity and enthusiasm is humbling to say the least. These children have many problems ranging from the lack of food and fresh water to the threat of malaria and other life-threatening diseases. They lack the funds for basic necessities, as well as school fees, which will be provided by SCoSL once the school term begins in September.

The summer school aims to assess the level at which the children will re-enter education.

We were joined by Stephen O’Brien MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, who spoke frankly about the role that we can individually play to support this fundamental area.

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