On the 17th October 2016, after 6 months of construction, SSLDF opened the Magbenteh Community Boarding School between the villages of Mathinka and Magbenteh, Bombali District. The culmination of several buildings within a forestry compound has created a safe and calm environment for children to learn and grow. Funding for the construction of the main school building was assisted by the fundraising organisation, L’appel Deutschland and Band Aid UK.
With a current capacity of 240 students, the children have been identified from the most deprived surrounding villages including those left orphaned by Ebola. This new opportunity for education is vital for both the children residing here who have been unable to attend school for the past 2 years as well as their guardians.
The school was funded by SSLDF who have asked the UK registered charity, EducAid to provide us with teachers. The primary school will provide education, accommodation and feeding in conjunction with social empowerment, sporting activities and mental health support. These foundations combined will encourage the children to share the knowledge acquired with their adopted families and communities.
A beautiful ‘Africana-style’ uniform was made by the tailors at the Polio village and distributed to the children on the first day of term after a General Meeting with the parents. Working in partnership with the Polio village not only created employment opportunities but also strengthened the relationship. For those children not living within a walk-able vicinity of the school SSLDF is providing a bus for transportation twice per day until the boarding houses are completed.
Construction of the boarding houses began in November 2016, with the financial support of Addax & Oryx Foundation, and will be ready for the next school year in September 2017. By having a boarding element to the primary school, the children are being given an opportunity to broaden their horizons, to encourage a sense of self-pride and self-worth and to ensure they are properly fed and cared for.
Upon completion next year, the entire project will consist of the school building, a kitchen and canteen, male and female boarding houses and bathrooms, a sports training field, a first-aid room and a waste-management room based on the ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ system for teaching purposes.