School is making a difference

ROTARY CORNER THURSDAY 5 MARCH 2020 – An extract from the Peterborough Telegraph – Written by Rotarian Janet Cooke

Rotarian David Wallwork, disturbed by what he saw on a visit to Sierra Leone, persuaded his family he needed to set up a school to help young people gain an education. He could never have envisaged the scale of what he would achieve. With the support of Rotary clubs at home and abroad his successes have been phenomenal. Imagine his pride now some of the youngsters he has helped have graduated from university.

Umaru Jalloh expresses his gratitude in his own words (abridged): “As I sat in the National Stadium in Freetown, dressed in my graduation regalia awaiting the conferment of a Law Degree by the Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone (President of the Republic of Sierra Leone), I reminisced how this came about and how the David School changed the narratives.

After taking my final high school examination, I went to my uncle’s subsistence farm close to Mile 36 to await my result. It was excellent, satisfying university admission requirements. At last, I could follow my dream – to read Law.

This dream was shattered. Law, the most expensive course on campus, was beyond what my parent could provide. I was on the verge of dropping out of school.

In 2014, Mr Fofanah, principal of the David School, came to my house to ask me to teach as a volunteer in his school. I accepted – an opportunity to help humanity. In 2015, proprietor David Wallwork and other trustees visited the school. They offered to help me go through my university education. I was dumbstruck.

In 2016, I was admitted into the University of Sierra Leone to read Law. Reading law was daunting but I remained steadfast and focused on chasing my dream. As I write, thanks to the David School, I hold a Bachelor of Law (with honours) degree.
My story is just one. The school has impacted many lives. Despite meagre funds, it is setting an indelible footprint that shall forever thrive. This charitable school provides free, quality education and other amenities to the people of Mile 36 and beyond. David Wallwork foresaw the need to provide education to vulnerable and less privileged children. I thank David, his wife, daughter and Michael Houlden whose support and advice has been invaluable. I also thank those “unknown” people who have donated resources to the school. They cannot imagine how valuable their support has been.
The fight isn’t over. My ultimate aim to be a lawyer has not been reached. I still have to do a year at the Sierra Leone Law School. It’s short but stringent and needs further support.

The David School is changing the lives of the people in Mile 36. You need not be a millionaire to be a humanitarian. Every act of kindness can greatly influence someone’s life.”

Rotarians making a difference.