Article by: Ibrahim A. Kamara
Congo town is a great place; with charming people, mixed and exciting cultures.
The brightly painted wooden houses built by late Congolese settlers preserved the community’s historic looks, young men attracted by soccer gathered in evening trainings in daily basis, and the frequent community soccer leagues usually gathered a crowd of people in the Congo town centre, where get to meet old or new friends was common.
Street carnivals and outings were famously widespread in Christmas and Easter seasons.
Secret societies were often out with young men or women in small gatherings singing or clapping. One have to give way if kos kos is coming, a devil that usually scared kids or adult but it was fun.
Life in Congo town was just amazing, all this has changed when the Ebola outbreak hit, caused fear and stigma, street hand shake and hugs no longer common, Sierra Leone had done all it can to put this to an end but the situation is persistently not seem to come to an end. Several lock downs had past but still and three Ebola cases found over six months ago in the slums of Congo town putted the whole community in greater fear.
The slummy communities that surrounds Congo town began with few houses during the war and after the war plenty refugees settled there in the shores to secured land space for shelter.
Many had raised their families and couldn’t return again. And recently when the Ebola outbreak hit Sierra Leone, three Ebola cases were found in these areas which leads to the quarantined of several homes in the slums and thankfully the communities have been for the past six months with no new Ebola case found yet.
These communities are becoming broader, stretchy and populated more than the upper Congo town itself. The practice of river banking to secure land space for shelter is mainly a famous activity. People in these areas get their survival through petty trading, fishing, river banking, and sand mining, activities where children are some most active players.
There is no school available in these communities except upper Congo town where you can find a school, and schools in Congo town cannot accommodate all the children in Congo town and it surrounded slums. In this case, most children long walked to other communities to find education, while for most, to be in school still remain a mere dream.
A community school, The Empowering children school [ECS] bringing the children’s dream to reality, the school began with two children and it is now a learning community of 200 children, operating along with committed hardworking teachers, strongly together and enduring with zeal and zest.
The more opportunities available for children to learn more children will learn and if more children learn the future illiteracy population in Sierra Leone will low, the economy will grow and the country will not be categorize as one of the poorest countries in the world. ECS is persistently laying the foundation for tomorrow, Tomorrow start here.
Challenges surround this school are plenty, last academic year; the school was a single structure petitioned in different classes, and tight. But for every year the children have to be promoted to another level. As the learning community grows, a new classroom and a teacher needed every year, newly admitted pupils filled the gap, more benches, tables, materials and great finance became a prerequisite.
In this new 2015 academic year, more children squeezed in and a grade six class needed for the newly promoted pupils from grade five, and the single structure building can no longer accommodate all the pupils. A speedy constructed zinc structure petitioned in few classes comes to play, which allowed the school to accepted more pupils in school, this time again more needs arose.
The first set of grade six pupils are taking the national primary exams in September, it’s the first national exams in the school.
Yet, Space for classrooms, furniture, materials and financial desperately needed. Renting for the building had expired, electricity and water fluctuate, internet is not available and bridging this divides to sufficient resources is a big challenge for empowering children school.
Help the children of Congo town achieve a quality education. Join Empowering Children School and make a difference.