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Providing education for orphaned and vulnerable children.

It has always been considered that education is of the upmost importance to the future of Sierra Leone. From the beginning of the partnership children have been identified as needing particular care, sometimes due to being orphaned and sometimes because they were particularly vulnerable.

45 children were recognised as having particular needs and since the start of the partnership, these children have been provided with school uniforms, books, bags and a small amount of financial support to assist them in their education. This has been an extremely important and successful venture. The numbers were kept at 45 until 2015 when another 45 Ebola orphans were also identified. From then on the numbers of children in the initial scheme has been naturally reduced when the children left school as they reached the age of 18.

Some of these students have done particularly well and have been funded through tertiary education until they obtained degrees. Sacred Heart Catholic College has been very supportive in helping these older pupils achieve their necessary qualifications. Three of these students have obtained nursing qualifications and now assist their own communities through their care and nursing skills.

Benguema and Monkey Bush Schools 2016 to 2021

Following the Ebola crisis in Waterloo, Sierra Leone the community identified 45 particularly vulnerable children who had been orphaned by Ebola. Since then, schooling has been provided and basic food supplied to all the households.

Initially a system was designed to give foster parents modest cash grants to help them set up micro businesses in order to become self-sufficient however, due to the fact that most people were trying to sell the same commodities within a very small village community, this scheme did not really take off. On the subsequent visits to Sierra Leone the children and their foster families were visited by three of WPUK trustees and asked which was the best way forward towards improving their lives. It was decided that supplying bags of rice and ensuring children were fed was the most important aspect as many pupils were not able to adequately concentrate on their school work because they were hungry. 45 children and their families have been supported in this way since 2015. The scheme is now overseen by a Sierra Leonean teacher, Mr Unisa Koroma, who supports the children and their foster families and informs WPUK of the children’s progress.

The education of the original children, plus a few more, continues alongside the education and feeding of the Ebola orphans. This is overseen by WPSLchairman , Alieu Badara Mansaray, his wife, Aminata and the Trustees of the Partnerships.