Three leaders from Healthy Schools International (HSI) traveled to Sierra Leone in October to visit current partner schools, review past projects and explore ways to improve and expand our programs. It was a particularly significant trip as this was our first chance to introduce our friends and partners to our name change from Deeper Missions.
HSI Board President, Ross Meglathery, Derek Reinhard, Executive Director, and Board VP, Kim Hanson, were pleased with their week-long stay which included having the honor of visiting with Dr. Minkailu Bah, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology.
Our two primary stops were at the Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf just outside the city of Bo in southern Sierra Leone and the Makeni Roke Fullah Primary School in a rural area of the Tonkollili District in the center of the country. Because of the generosity of our donors, and a grant from the Training Resources Group, these two partner schools have received clean infrastructure upgrades to help protect the health of the staff and students and to help the community build sustainable revenue models which bring in income to maintain the systems.
So far, the school for the deaf has received a sanitation upgrade and a 1.2kW solar electricity system to power lights and electronics in the class rooms. The remaining installations include an expanded solar generation system so their new dormitory, dining facility and community hall can have clean power, and drilling a borehole where which will supply clean water all year round.
At the primary school in Makeni Roke Fullah, a borehole well was drilled last year, for which the community is grateful because up to that point they were retrieving water from a shallow river. This past summer, a solar electricity system was installed (see featured photo above). Remaining is the largest project to date for us: safe sanitation facilities for almost 500 students.
Interestingly, both schools chose to start a cellphone charging service for the community in order to generate income for help pay for maintenance on their respective infrastructure. The Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf has already set aside sufficient funds to pay for any major component failures and so now can direct some funds toward school operating costs.
During the trip, the team also visited with potential partner schools in the Bo city area. We found one school with a tremendous and immediate need for a water well and sanitation–finding any kind of water involved time away from school for staff and children alike, and the current pit latrines are all out of operation.
These are the challenges we face and these faces are the reward we get for helping students thrive in areas otherwise overlooked.
Thank you for the kind and generous part you are playing.