The article below was written by Rotarian Janet Cooke and published in the Peterborough Telegraph, on 24th January 2019.
2018 was a milestone for the David School in Sierra Leone; marking ten years since Ramsey Rotarian David Wallwork set up the school that has grown and prospered ever since. To mark this important occasion David visited the community along with family members, local Rotarians and even a Rotarian from Norway.
The anniversary was marked by a day of celebrations starting with a three mile parade led by the school’s banner. Pupils and teachers wore T-shirts designed for the occasion. Food was then provided for everyone before an assembly with speeches and entertainment provided by the pupils. As a lasting memory of this anniversary every pupil was given three plates, two dishes and a spoon – quite a change as they usually eat with their fingers!
The new toilet block is in use and has proved to be very successful. A lady from the community is employed to supervise and clean it. More floors have been tiled, gutters cleaned, the pump maintained and lots of painting done. New audio-visual equipment has been installed with TV, radio, projector and a large screen. A deaf/mute young man from the community has been employed as school caretaker and security guard. He can be seen after dark patrolling with torch in one hand and machete in the other – quite a force to be reckoned with!
In addition to the 10th anniversary T-shirt, worn out uniforms were replaced and other clothing distributed to the needy. The contraception programme is proving to be very successful so more girls are continuing their secondary education. Provision of sanitary ware is also proving popular.
The Sierra Leone government has been so impressed with the work done by the David School in the last ten years that they are considering approving it as a government school. This would mean they will pay for qualified teachers’ salaries, exam fees and books and equipment for primary pupils. The school will continue to be independent and education free for pupils.
This is a truly inspiring example of a highly successful and sustainable Rotary project initiated and meticulously maintained by a local Rotarian. The David School provides education, employment and general well-being for people living in one of the poorest areas of the world. Well done David.