For pupils of the Samu Junior Secondary School, Kassirie in the Kambia District, it seems blessing comes in twos. The pupils, who had never had the chance of reading a dictionary let alone owning one, on Friday received a big boost from Celtel.
Under the Build Our Nation scheme, the school received Le10 million worth of textbooks and learning materials and also a pledge of Le45m to assist them in any project they desire. Thanks to the Chief Executive Officer of MTC, the parent company of Celtel, who donated the amount during his visit to Sierra Leone last month.
At the occasion on Friday, the excited Samu pupils also played host to the Sales Director of Celtel Keith Tukei, who made the presentation on behalf of the Management.
He told the gathering among them the Deputy Chairman of the District Council, Chiefdom speaker, principal, staff and pupils of the school as well as other local authorities of the Samu chiefdom that “Celtel don’t just talk. We put it into action”. An apparent reference to their slogan, “Making life better”.
Quoting a popular saying, “if education is expensive, try ignorance”, the Sales Director said it was very important to them at Celtel to make the books available to the school so that the pupils would be empowered.
Mr Tukei went on that as the leading telecommunications company in Sierra Leone they had tried to invest in the future of the country. This, he noted, was why they were investing about $150,000 on education this year in Sierra Leone.
He also told them that this being the final presentation for this quarter of the year; the books would be useful in shaping the pupils’ future.
Receiving the books, the Principal of the school, Mohammed Tejan Kamara in an emotion-filled voice, said it was a wonderful day for the school. He said that with the textbooks from Celtel, they had no excuse to be called underprivileged and promised that they would make good use of them as the donors would be disappointed if they were not handled with care.
The Deputy Chairman of the district Local Council Nabi Yaya Yilla who said he had been a teacher and a journalist for over 30 years, expressed gratitude to Celtel for the donation. He described the occasion as “unique” because the National Primary School Examinations was taking place on the same day and he is also the Chairman of the Education Committee for the Council.
He said Celtel was the first to be in Kambia and had never disappointed the people. He said he has three mobile phones all running on Celtel numbers. He disclosed that they were striving hard to ensure that the Samu school was upgraded to a senior secondary school. With the book, he said, this would be enhanced. He also pleaded with Celtel to extend coverage to Yeliboya Island and for a mast to be erected in Mambolo to service Samu and Mambolo which is a very large community bordering Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The Councillor of the area, Abass Conteh said they had been longing for the day. The managing director of Premier Media, Dr. Julius Spencer, admonished the children to study very hard. He taught them the poem “heights of great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but while their companions slept, were toiling through the night.”
These lines, he told the pupils, had been his guiding principle over the years since he learnt it in primary school. He admonished them not to relent but to continue to strive for success. A pupil of the school, Balu Kamara assured they would make good use of the books.