A School for the Magdogbos

Magdogbo Primary School
In Freetown, Sierra Leonean authorities have slated March 30 for the reopening of schools.

Early in February, the government granted permission to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for work to start on "water and sanitation, Ebola screenings and psychosocial support" ahead of the reopening.

More than 200 miles north of the capital, the people of Magdogbo 1 and II are looking to build a new school.

KOINADUGU, SL (March 2015)-- Bala Mansaray, a parent in Folosaba Dembeleya chiefdom, said Magdogbo 1 and Magdogbo II  have two to three thousand people between them, with 150 children aged 5 to 14.

An old house serves as the village school.

Demba Kamara, another parent in Magdogbo, said that the school has two volunteer teachers. During the school year, they asked parents to contribute towards a wage for the teachers every month.

“Each parent was paying 5,000 Leones per month,” he explained.

But the monthly contributions stopped when a lot of parents started crying hardship, Kamara said.

Local council authorities were giving a stipend of five hundred thousand Leones to the two teachers but that too stopped because no teaching was going on as a lot of children had dropped out.

Mohamed Marrah, head teacher of the Magdogbo Primary School, said that currently he has about one hundred and five children on the roll.

Mohamed Marrah, head teacher
There is no furniture in the school, Marrah said. Parents have to assist with chalk and other learning materials. Recently, he was visited by members of a non -governmental organization who promised to help.

One charity that has a successful track record funding schools is Shine on Sierra Leone.

Over the past four years, Shine on Sierra Leone has supported the Muddy Lotus School.  Muddy Lotus primary school is located in the diamond region of Kono.

According to SOSL, in 2006, they transformed this school from a roofless three classroom building into a functioning and safe school.

It took 10 days, 150 wooden boards, 50 bags of cement, six trips of sand, six trips of marble, 25 bundles of zinc, five iron doors, 16 workmen and a willingness to work from dawn to dusk. Muddy Lotus now boasts a brand new roof, cement flooring, painted interior and exterior walls, repaired toilets, permanent desks, and new iron doors with locks.

On its website, Shine on Sierra Leone also said they are partnering with Fundacion Paraguaya and their 'Teach A Man to Fish' model to create something special.

SOSL has also partnered up with FAWE (The Forum for African Woman Educationalists).

In the past three years, SOSL has financed 5 primary and secondary schools through FAWE and 1700 students. Sponsorship includes financing teachers’ salaries, providing school supplies, paying tuition, and when needed building additional schools and toilets.

Back in Koinadugu, Mansaray said  some families were forced to leave their children with relatives in the chiefdom headquarter town of Musaia, about five miles from Magdogbo. 

Councilor Marlia Kamara, head of the council’s Education Committee, said that the council is aware.

“I assure you that by the time schools reopen, we will have given our support to ensure that the kids get qualified teachers, refurbished the school and we will also supply them with furniture,” he promised.

District Officer Alfred Lahai said he will do everything to make sure a new and functional school is built in the village.

In a telephone interview, Abdul Kuyateh, a senior Inspectorate officer, said that he will also take up the issue with officials of the Ministry of Education in Freetown, the nation’s capital.


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