New Toilets for the PreSchool
As you may remember, last year the Olney Newton Link was proud to support the building of a new PreSchool – a daytime centre for little people of preschool age who had lost their parents or carers during the Ebola outbreak.
We are pleased to hear that the school is now really popular and lots of children have enrolled – both orphans and other youngsters. However, so far only classroom and office has been built and there is not yet a toilet block – these little people are having to share the adult facilities in the next door Institute. We are sending over funds so that the work can continue but still need more. It is important that this is completed as soon as possible as the school term has begun and the weather is dry – please help if you can!
You may remember that we recently had a request for help from our friend Brima James Kabia in Newton. He wanted to set up a dressmakers/tailoring business for young people who had missed out on education. He asked for manual and electric sewing machines plus a small generator and we were delighted that, with the help of the charity ‘Workaid’, we were able to send them.
Brima James Kabia has recently sent us these photos of the tutor testing the machines, and our friend Mariatu, working the pedals. It has been suggested that they start the enterprise with five pupils, and they are hoping for more. More electric sewing machine are wanted but it seems that things are progressing well.
Enabling students to study
At the request of the committee in Newton, we have established an annual bursary to allow local people to study. Ten students will benefit from the bursary this year – mostly mature students who have missed out on an education due to the Civil War. We have received some lovely comments from the students, thanking everyone in Olney for helping them to study.
Ester Tarawally. My name is Ester Tarawally born of Newton7. Prince Alfred rd. I study Human Resource management. I have received a partial scholarship for my course . Thank you very much. God bless you.
ISHMAEL Kanu. My name is Ishmael Kanu. I am born of Newton.I am a student of Newton College studying accounting and Financial. I have received a scholarship for my studies from Olney Newton Link . Thank you.
Adama Jar. My name is Adama Jar I am a student at Newton College studying banking and finance. I have received a partial scholarship for my final year N.C.T. V. A. exams from Mr Fofana and team . Thank you very much.
Fatmata James. My name is Fatmata James. I am born of Newton. I study Business administration at Newton College. Thank you for the scholarship.
My name is Alimamy Tarawalie, a student of Newton College doing Teachers Certificate. Thank you for the scholarship.
Sarah Mansaray. My name is Sarah Mansaray ,I am a student at Newton College. I study banking and finance. I have got a partial scholarship for my final year examination from you. Thank you very much.
James Sankoh. I am a student at Newton college. I study accounting and finance. I am born of Newton. Have received a scholarship from Mr Fofanah for my final year Diploma Course. God bless you all.
My name is Ernest bai Raymond born in Newton , 148, Old Motor Road. I study Human Resource Management I have received partial scholarship for my course. Thank you. God bless you.
The Folio Craft club are holding a ‘drop-in’ coffee day, along with gifts, sale table, cakes to purchase, bric-a-brac and a raffle. All will be in aid of the Olney Newton Link and the Folio Craft Club. Come and join us for coffee, tea, juice and homemade cake (donations are invited) and of course great company! We’re meeting at 104 High Street, Olney. Please come!
It has been wonderful to see photos of the newly completed water well, sent to us by the ONL Committee in Newton.
Mabinty Sesay, Treasurer of the Newton Committee, has confirmed that the well was being used by the local community as well as one of the schools. Completion had been hampered by the continuing rainy season which seemed to have lasted much longer than usual. However, we are so pleased that it’s now up and running – a very valuable resource.
You are warmly invited to join us for afternoon tea with delicious cakes and cream scones,
on Saturday August 25th from 3pm until 5pm at 34 Carey Way, Olney.
Tickets cost £5 in aid of water wells and the preschool facilities. Please buy your tickets in advance from Anne 01234 711196 , Sue 01234 712540 or Rachel 01234 711751.
We have recently had a request from our friend Brima James Kabia in Newton. He would like to set up a dressmakers/tailoring business for young people who have missed out on education. He had asked for manual sewing machines and an electric one plus a small generator. We are delighted to say that a charity based in Chesham – ‘Workaid’ – has supplied us with an electric sewing machine plus an assortment of accessories all free of charge (see photograph). So all the Olney Newton Link need to do is pay shipping costs. The manual machines can be purchased in Sierra Leone.
We are looking forward to receiving photos of the workshop in due course – we know it will be a very successful little business and are looking forward to watching it develop.
*Workaid tackle poverty by supplying disadvantaged people with the tools they need to acquire practical skills and become self supporting.
Preschool’s end of term ceremony
We are really pleased to say that all of the hard work has paid off! The Preschool, which we helped to set up in response to the Ebola crisis which killed so many, is now up and running and doing really well.
Set up to look after young orphaned children whilst carers worked, the Preschool has just celebrated it’s first end of term ceremony. We’re told that the children read and sang, prizes were awarded and speeches made. A great success!
The photograpPhotos show (from left to right, rows 1 and 2):
1. Teacher and pupil reading rhymes, with Val King the Chair of the Newton Committee in the background;
2. Prize giving
3. Children reciting rhymes;
4. Mabinty giving welcome address;
5. Speech from Councillor;
6. Pupil reciting a rhyme;
7. Bakkar, secretary of the Newton Committee and Principal of the Institute, giving a vote of thanks;
8. Cross Section of parents and carers.
Excellent news from Newton today, 26th January 2017. At last the end is in sight for the completion of the Newton Preschool. Registration has begun and this is a photograph of some of the children who will attend. We hope to shortly have photographs of the opening day.
The project was proposed in the autumn of 2014 but became more urgent as the Ebola crisis took hold. The Newton Committee had perceived a need for a Preschool in order to enable young women, especially those who have taken on the care of Ebola orphans, to work and thereby supplement the family income. To date we have sent £25,000 and a carton of toys and other ‘educational ‘ materials. We have also provided a water well at a cost of approximately £3000, which will serve both the preschool and the Olney Institute next door.
Inflation in Sierra Leone is currently running at about 10%. At the beginning of December the SL government raised the cost of fuel by a whopping 40%, from 4300Leones/litre to 6000Leones /litre thereby sending up the cost of most commodities. The treasurer, Mabinty Sesay, sends us accounts several times a year so that we know what they are buying with the money we send.
What does the Newton Committee spend the money on?
These are photos of the team hard at work building the new school.
So how has the money been spent? Basically on a standard set of materials that any builder would recognise. Initially foundations must be dug and then building blocks made. These are made of concrete, a longer lasting material than the mud blocks used for local housing. Cement has to be imported and the cost varies considerably. Sand is extracted from the local beaches, a practice much criticised by environmentalists. We were intrigued to hear that the Newton committee had decided to include extra strengthening of the walls so that a second storey could be added at some future date. Land is something else that is becoming more expensive on an almost daily basis.
Roofing materials are then required. The most durable material is zinc, again this has to be imported and the price varies considerably. Doors and windows need to be made of metal to prevent termite damage, again all must be imported.
Other materials purchased are what anyone needs for building: nails, boards, iron rods, plaster, paint etc. and of course, payment to the workmen. The average pay is approximately £1/hour. There is no machinery such as a JCB or concrete mixer, everything has to be done by hand.
Why does the cost of projects like this rise?
Firstly, we ask for an estimate of cost before we undertake a project BUT we have learned from experience that these are very unreliable. The way business is done in Third World Countries is a far cry from UK practices. Builders, architects, plumbers etc. are self-taught and the idea of tendering for a job such as building a school is not understood. This also means they cannot always see in advance what is likely to be needed.
Secondly a small charity like ours cannot raise money quickly, we can only send money as we get it. As there are no credit facilities available in Sierra Leone the Newton committee can only purchase materials as the money comes in. In the meantime, the costs have risen.
Thirdly we are at the mercy of the exchange rate. An increase in the rate is good news in one way as we get more Leones for our £ BUT the cost of imported materials rises too.
A remarkable achievement?
Against this backdrop, plus many more problems such as heavy rains, the Newton Committee and Mabinty in particular have succeeded in building a preschool for at least 100 disadvantaged children. A remarkable achievement. I hope you agree and will continue to support the work of the Olney-Newton Link.