United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone June Carter Perry yesterday visited beneficiaries of the Ambassador’s Girls Scholarship Program (AGSP) at the St Ambrose Primary School in Masiaka.
38 girls and 10 boys of the school’s children are the recipients of the scholarships under the AGSP, which promotes education for underprivileged children.
In her statement, Ambassador Perry said, “We are proud to support you in your pursuit of education, and I am very happy to meet you. As children, you represent the future of Sierra Leone, and your education is the key to that future. Only if you succeed, can your country and your continent succeed,” she averred
As many of you know, the US envoy revealed “this week marks the start of Women’s History Month, which we celebrate every March,” adding that “while the Ambassador’s Girls Scholarship Program now supports the educational aspirations of boys as well, the program came out of a desire to create opportunities for girls so they can become the powerful women of tomorrow.”
History, Ambassador Perry said, “is dotted with women who started from humble beginnings, but used their talents and all the resources available to them to make an impact in the world.”
“While scholarships are important to your ability to stay in school, the community support you receive is essential to helping you overcome the challenges we all must face in life. Your parents, grandparents’ teachers, and leaders of your community are there to protect you,” she explained.
The US Ambassador furthered, “while you may face pressure to leave school at some point in your life, remember that you have your whole life to work, but you only have your childhood to be children, and if you stay in school you will have opportunities for success far into the future.” She urged all the young scholars to continue to work hard and treat their work seriously. The US Ambassador informed that they are the most privileged among their peers. “Remember that your classmates are looking up to you, and you should take the personal responsibility to be role models so other children can learn from your example,” she said. “I heard that 98% of you passed your exams, and I am proud of you. I am also impressed that you have won the first place in HIV/AIDS quiz competitions with other AGSP schools.” To help you in your quest for knowledge, I have brought a donation of books for your classrooms and your libraries,” said Ambassador Perry.
Giving an overview of the AGSP in Port Loko district, Country Director Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Beryl Nyamwange explained that they operate in 125 countries in the globe covering five main portfolio areas, namely: basic education, primary health, economic development, emergency management and food security. ADRA Partners with USAID funding in different parts of the world. “In Sierra Leone we are happy to partner with USAID in the implementation of the AGSP.”
She explained that they have been providing books and other school materials and lunch but however noted that they can not provide lunch for all of the children, noting that “it is difficult to feed others while others look at you with their mouth open”
Giving a breakdown of the project successes and activities, Nyamwange explained that in 2004 to 2005, some 600 girls’ in 18 schools in 3 chiefdoms benefited from the programme.
In 2005 to 2006, she said, “there was an increase of 50 girls and 2006-2007 the scholarship was extended to 3 more schools in Moyamba chiefdom. By this time 722 girls were benefiting from the programme,” she explained.
Nyamwange revealed that last year girls who passed the NPSC were not replaced except that more funding was received for 100 boys which provided scholarship for 250 boys of which many of whom have left out bringing the total number of beneficiaries currently to 770.
“This year 520 girls and 250 boys continue to benefit again from this programme, of that number 10 boys and 38 girls are in this school,” Nyamwange disclosed.
Paramount Chief of Koya Chiefdom Kompa Bomboli II in his welcome address thanked the United States government and appealed to them to continue their support.
By Ophaniel Gooding