On a visit to Freetown in 2005, as part of a group working to extend a Fistula Clinic operated by Mercy Ships in an area known as Aberdeen, I became aware of the physical and emotional problems associated with life in this poverty-stricken and war-ravaged country.
At one point I was invited to go ‘up country’ to collect some equipment and it was at a farm that I saw an opportunity for a recently retired secondary head teacher to make a difference.
It is a fairly extensive, very primitive subsistence farm at a place only referred to as ‘the farm at mile 36’ in the Koya Chiefdom. There was no school, indeed no education for any of the 100+ youngsters living there; the nearest school was a good two hours’ walk away. In working with the tribal elders, they agreed to provide the land, and I was fortunate enough to meet a man named Abdullai Kallon – a well known local man with excellent references, who was willing to help.
It was always my intention that the school would provide high quality, free education for the community with no corporal punishment. The name David was chosen for the school by the Temne people.
On my return to the UK, it was decided to use family money to get the project started, and then to raise funds to see it through to completion. The fundraising has been supported by family, many friends, schools, Rotary Clubs and other organisations.
In addition to monetary funding, we have been shipping much needed equipment out to Sierra Leone, including collections of school uniforms, shoes, football kit, chalk and slates, school materials, desks and chairs, clothes, and sewing machines.
We now have almost 300 pupils and this ‘chance to learn’ could make a very significant difference to their lives and provide them with opportunities which we in this country take for granted.
There is still much to do and there are plans to educate adults and develop the farm to make it self sufficient.
I thank you all for your contributions and support.
The David School Trust.