There was traditional beating and dancing as parents, pupils and school teachers rejoiced at the foundation laying ceremony of the Community Education and Agricultural Project in Mathele Bana, Tane Chiefdom, Tonkolili District on 25 February 2011.
The projects were pioneered by HOPE-Sierra Leone in partnership with UK based Charity Service (UK-TCS).
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Commissioner Ibrahim Kabia of NATCOM, who hailed from the locality, reflected on the mayhem that residents suffered in the hands of rebels during the brutal civil conflict in the country, noting that the event marked a turning point in the history of not only Mathele Bana, but the entire Makrugbeh Section.
“Mathele was a hub of destruction, but through divine intervention, Mathele today is a hub of educational and agricultural development”, Commissioner Kabia said.
He noted that teenage pregnancy was rampant in the community in the past, due to lack of educational facilities in the vicinity, which obliged parents to send their girl child to school in distant towns and villages.
HOPE-SL Executive Director, John Bangura, a son of the soil, sourced funding from UK for the construction of a secondary school at Mathele Bana and at four primary schools in the surrounding villages including Makrugbeh.
He said the project was for the people of Makrugbeh and the entire Tonkolili District. He expressed optimism that the objectives of the project would be achieved through hard and honest work and collaboration with the community, the Ministry of Education and the district Council.
“Together, we can bring prosperity, transform and make life better for all of us”, he said. He appealed for support from the Tonkolili District Council in the areas of speedy approval of the schools and teachers, as well as technical supervision for road construction which is also part of the project.
UK-based Charity Service representative, Michael Colin, said his Charity was partnering with HOPE-SL “to bring help to the hopeless”. He disclosed that the money was provided by unknown people, who in turn are complimented by the UK Government. “The most blessed are those, who give the money, who you don’t know”, adding that The Charity Service “is the gateway through which the money reaches you”.
Underscoring the objective of the project, Mr. Colin said “the project is yours; you own it and the future is yours”. He congratulated the community people for as he put it, “the way you are uplifting yourselves”. He encouraged team work for the achievement of the goals of the project and the funders.
The occasion was graced by Member of Parliament Hon. Mohamed Tarawalie, who also represented the Minister of Education, Paramount Chiefs, District Council Representative and UNICEF.