Schools for Salone is working with schools across the US to expand the horizons of American students by showing them what it is like to be a child and a student in Sierra Leone, West Africa, one of the poorest countries of the world, still recovering from the horrors of its 11 year civil war.
Often our programs inspire US students to step out of themselves and take action, together in classes or clubs and as individuals, to help make a difference in the lives of others less fortunate than themselves and to connect with students half a world away.
Read the stories below of students and others across the USA who have taken it upon themselves to help Sierra Leone.
Quince Orchard High School — Gaithersburg, Maryland
Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland opened on September 6, 1987. The first class graduated on June 4, 1989. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the opening of the school and i’s first graduating class the school has adopted the theme, “25 years of building futures”. In conjunction with the celebration, Principal Carole, working and the students and staff of QO have decided to embark upon a whole school service project. QO has partnered with School for Salone and has committed to raising the funds necessary to build a school in Robis, Sierra Leone.
Jennifer Kempf, RPCV Sierra Leone, sponsors the International Club and teaches chemistry at Quince Orchard High School.
Fifth Grade Students at St. Francis of Assisi in Cordova, TN: 2011-12
Kathy Schober, the mother of a current Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, wrote of her students’ efforts:
“We kicked off our ‘Change for Change… Sharing the Love with Salone’ on December 1, 2011. I was very touched by their generosity as many emptied out the piggy banks they had kept since they were quite small. Some teachers and older students even stopped by to add their change to our ‘Change for Change.’ I spent many hours counting and wrapping rolls of coins. Two days into it, we were almost at the goal and my kids were asking what else the students needed… I think Amy had mentioned a well pump and desks.
On my classroom door I had a construction paper outline of a latrine and we filled the “pit” with colored hearts to represent each $10 raised. I guess I have a 5th grade sense of humor, because the kids and I all laughed when adults pass by and said how ‘cute’ our door was, having no clue that it was a latrine, much less what actually belonged in our happy looking pit.
These funds will support the brand new Sahn Malen School library, built by Schools for Salone. Kathy Schober’s daughter Amy is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sahn Malen. A shipment of books arrived in 2012.
High school seniors at Foothill Technology H.S. in Ventura, Ca: 2010-2011
In June 2010, Foothill Technology High School teachers, Cherie Eulau and Melissa Wantz, along with her daughter Megan Wantz, traveled to Sierra Leone and visited the village to meet with the community about their needs for a school. They were taken by the friendliness and gratitude of the people and by the hope in the eyes of the young school children. They returned to their Ventura, California, community determined to do whatever they could to see their children educated in a school that is sound, safe and comfortable. About 35 seniors at Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, CA, joined Eulau and Wantz and committed to raise $50,000 to build a new school for Lungi.
The fundraising was completed by the end of March, with more than $55, 000 raised in total, and school construction began with groundbreaking ceremonies followed by weeks of clearing land, hand crafting bricks and the actual construction itself.
“Fill the Barrel” by Destiny Karash-Givens – 2011
“After reading that Sierra Leone was ranked the poorest country by the UN I felt the need to do something about it. I’m only a 17 year old kid and I knew I couldnt donate millions of dollars, but the least I could do was try to put a smile on the children’s faces. That’s why I started “Fill the Barrel”. First it started off with toys for Christmas time, and now I’m in the process of sending school supplies. I’ve always wanted to help people around the world, and my charity gave me the chance to do so. There aren’t enough words in the world that explain how much Fill the Barrel means to me. I love having the opportunity to help children in Sierra Leone. Although I’ll probably never get to meet the kids I’ve reached out to, it puts a smile on my face knowing that I was apart of their lives.”
Brownstones to Red Dirt, Brooklyn, NY to Freetown, SL – 2009 – 2012
Copper Pot Pictures in Brooklyn, NY, made a documentary film of a Pen Pal program set up by Respect International between inner city Brooklyn kids and orphans at the Children in Crisis shool near Freetown, Sierra Leone. The film had its world premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival and followed that up with a screening at the San Francisco Film Festival. The film highlights the similarities these kids have in their hopes and dreams, even as it starkly demonstrates the differences between the two countries they live in. The making of the film inspired Copper Pot Pictures to build a school for Sierra Leonean kids and a Library for the Brooklyn kids which will help them stay connected to their new friends in Sierra Leone.