By Nick Mason, Sponsorship Manager, WYCF - Jan 2014
WYCF received an award from the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone for our efforts in re-building the communities we love.
Our Volunteers Are Invaluable
Our wonderful volunteers, Mark (a.k.a. Uncle) and Kala have done brilliant work with the kids. Kala arrived recently from the UK and settled in well; Uncle is now part of the fabric of WYCF in Freetown!
"I have been in Sierra Leone for seven weeks working predominantly in the Kroo Bay school with the children who live in and around that area.
I cannot really talk about individual children, but there isn’t a day that goes by where I am not impressed or surprised by the generosity and kindness these children show to each other and me.
Yes, they are tough and yes, they play hard, very hard, but underneath all of that is the innocence and kindness of the likes I have not seen in a country that has everything.
These children have very little, but the little they have – they share with one another. Any small amount of food that one has, it is broken down further to give as many other children as possible a little bite to eat. They help each other out in class, sharing their knowledge and sharing their pens and books.
The desire to learn is so high here and it was truly evident when we went to the school because we missed the last day due to the customs process here. We went to see if we could see as may of the children as possible the day after school ended and while we were there, over 50 of them turned up to school with their books and pencils ready for a day of learning.
Now when I was a child, a day off school meant you wouldn’t see me anywhere near the place, I made the most of my time off. Over here, they make the most of every opportunity to learn and I was really hit emotionally that they wanted to do this.
Over the weeks I have got to know a few of the children personally, and I am totally honest when I say I really like each and every one. I will miss them a lot when I leave – and I don’t think I will meet a better group of future leaders again.
I would recommend to anyone I meet that they should try an experience like this; it is tough and challenging, but so rewarding."
New Location for School
Facing the loss of our school building, WYCF identified a new location and paid for six months' rent.
We move in January; the rent is higher, but we will be in a safer and cleaner environment!
Kroo Bay (KB) School Construction takes baby steps forward – a land price has been negotiated and fundraising is ongoing.
Extra Support for Children on Saturdays
The Artists United for Children and Youth Development (AUCAYD) Saturday Programme starts in January, giving extra support to the kids' learning and development.
Mr. Kamara, our Head Teacher in Kroo Bay, has been relieved to have the excellent support of Uncle and Kala. Santigie continues to teach when he can as well.
Clothing and stationary donations keep the kids learning in comfort.
WYCF founder, Santigie (Santos) Bayo Dumbuya, and Uncle were part of a human chain to extinguish a fire in our neighbourhood.
Safe World Partnership
WYCF's partnership with Safe World for Women has got off to a fantastic start - with valuable introductions and online support.
The WYCF Christmas Party in Kroo Bay was a hit! Music, dancing, speaches, presents, food and smiles all round - everybody deserves a party!
Santigie took Uncle to his hometown, Kamakwie, for Christmas with his family.
Check out Uncle's blog here.
Call to Action
We are highly resourceful, building towards a future of self-sufficiency using the WYCF home to subsidise the schools and organising stable school fees.
BUT - we need help to get there.
Please donate whatever you can and visit us this year!