During the month of October, SSLDF were delighted to welcome back our ex-volunteer Building Engineer from Spain, Virginia, who was in charge of the construction of both Magbenteh Community Boarding School and its boarding houses from April 2016 until December 2018.
We were also fortunate to receive Virginia’s best friend Gemma, and share with her the work of SSLDF. Both Virginia and Gemma had been actively fundraising in Spain amongst friends, family and various schools in their home towns.
As a result of their successful fundraising venture, the Magbenteh Community Boarding School project has further developed in terms of what we are able to offer our pupils in terms of their health and growth as individuals.
The funding raised by Virginia and Gemma has been able to provide a fantastic array of elements:
Canteen furniture, enabling students to sit and eat lunch together every day; football kits for both our male and female teams; bags of colouring pens and pencils for art and drawing classes, encouraging creativity and expression; school uniforms, to be made by the Makeni Polio Tailoring Workshop; and library furniture, including bookshelves, tables and stools, supporting our reading club initiative for those who wish to read or study during lunch times or after school.
The colouring gifts are particularly meaningful, having been donated by different classes of school children in Spain. The Magbenteh Community Boarding School students drew pictures and messages of thanks back with Virginia and Gemma to distribute on their arrival home.
Prior to their visit, Virginia had compiled a presentation for fundraising purposes. To inspire our teachers and SSLDF staff, she showed us the school’s story, from the clearing of the land to the completion of the roof to the first day of classes, reminding us all of our momentous achievements.
SSLDF wish to express their deep appreciation to Virginia and Gemma for their tremendous effort. Before leaving we also received a generous monetary donation towards the school’s feeding programme, enabling SSLDF to continue providing food for 3 months of the 2018/2019 academic year.
Virginia shared her thoughts on returning to Sierra Leone; “I felt like I was coming home. People still remembered me; the SSLDF and Magbenteh staff, the community members and even the students. It made it really easy to start working again and ensure that all our plans to be achieved within my short 3-week trip.
It is incredible how far our fundraising money has gone, and to have seen nearly everything completed. I can’t believe we have been able to support the feeding programme too. I can’t stop smiling! SSLDF will always have a place in my heart, and to have been able to share my passion for Magbenteh Community Boarding School with my best friend made the visit all the more special.”