The 50/50 Group of Sierra Leone has on Friday 27th February launched the first 50/50 School club at the St Joseph’s Secondary school in Brookfields Freetown. In her welcome address Mrs. Dentuma Maligi said the idea of forming a school 50/50 club emanated from a meeting that was held at the British council in Tower Hill Freetown on the 18th April, 2008.
The chair of the occasion was Dr. Nemata Majeks-Walker, founder of the 50/50 Group in Sierra Leone. Mrs.Walker congratulated St. Joseph’s Convent for the golden opportunity they have got for being the first School in Sierra Leone to have a 50/50 club.
She told the audience that all efforts to establish a school club of the 50/50 have proven futile. She commended the St. Joseph’s school for such a historic achievement and assured the girls of their continued support to ensure that the newly established club is sustained.
The current president of the 50/50 Group, Madam Harriett Turay mentioned that women are finding it very difficult to appreciate their rights, but the formation of this school club will serve as a medium through which young girls will be given the opportunity to learn about their rights. She commended St.Joseph’s school for such a brilliant effort made to establish the club and encouraged them to take the lead in establishing the club in other schools.
The principal of the school, Sister Angela Bangura in her speech stated that women have been marginalized in society for a very long time due to traditional beliefs which dictate that women should always be at the back.
Sis. Angela further added that the founders of St. Joseph secondary school saw women as endangered species that can only be liberated through education. That was the main reason for the establishment of the school in 1866 to provide quality education for girls to enable them meet the challenges in life. She advised the pupils to see the sky as their limit.
The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Mohammed Bizimana the programme manager of OXFAM PACER project.
He said that his organization has been engaged in promoting women’s rights in the country for the past five years and are also engaged in supporting women’s participation in political and public life.
The BBC correspondent and President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists Mr.Umaru Fofana formally launched the 50/50 school club of St. Joseph’s secondary school. He said that the existence of the 50/50 Group in Sierra Leone has contributed towards changing the thinking of Sierra Leonean about women.”What I have seen here today has given me the conviction that Sierra Leone will one day produce a female president” he added.
The awards and certificates were distributed by the former Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, Musu Kandeh who is also a founding member of the organization.