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Newsletter 3. February 2005  

Volunteers help lay the foundations of the new school building on Saturday 11th December2004


In our last newsletter we announced plans to begin fundraising for a new school building. The village felt that after two years it was time the bamboo and thatch structure, which had been constructed in under a fortnight, was replaced with something more permanent. The school committee drew up plans and a proposal for a new schoolhouse, in which the villagers would contribute all the labour and  some materials themselves, namely: bush poles, sand and stones. They would also make the bricks for the building.

The cost was estimated at around £4,000.

Brandeston Hall school in Suffolk chose Rogbonko Village School to be the recipient of a year long fund raising drive, and remarkably succeeded in raising sufficient money for the entire new building (see below).

As a result, work began in earnest as soon as the rains came to an end. The laying of the foundations involved almost everyone in the village. A team of 100 young men formed the core of the labour under the supervision of the builder. Young women fetched water and sand from the stream to help mix the cement. Older women provided food and water to the workers. Thereafter rotating teams of five volunteers will be assigned to the project.

All participants will receive a T-shirt bearing the words ‘Rogbonko Village School Volunteer.’
The village is working to a deadline of March 2005, as the roof must go on the new building before the rains return.

The new building will comprise four large classrooms, a library, staffroom and store room.



Our heartfelt thanks to the pupils and staff of Brandeston Hall in Suffolk for all their work raising money for the new school building. The school hosted a score of imaginative fundraising activities including a fashion show showcasing outfits made wholly from recycled materials,  a non-uniform day and an exhibition of photographs of the village by Simon Westcott.

Congratulations to all those who took part, including the staff members who submerged themselves in vats of beans for the Summer Fete and submitted to being pelted with wet sponges, and  to former headmaster Stephen Player who volunteered to have his legs waxed!

Over the year a grand total of £7243.08 has been raised.

Pupils of Brandeston Hall present a cheque  to Aminatta Forna of the Rogbonko Village School Trust



  The civil war in Sierra Leone interrupted schooling for 10 years for many of the nation’s young people. On a recent visit to the village, we found overwhelming support for the introduction of adult literacy classes. As a result plans are now underway for evening classes to be held in the new school building. A three year course is currently being devised, which will be open to all.

In time we plan to raise funds for the introduction of a follow on programme of training in practical skills such as carpentry and tailoring.


We are delighted to announce that Rogbonko Village School has been nominated a ‘Ray of Hope’school by Director of UNESCO Youth Ambassador Don McBurney. Don was one of the first to donate teaching aids to the school and has continued to support us since.

 In Brief: 

Our special thanks to Largymore Primary School in Co. Antrim for their donation of colouring pencils, and pens. Also to Carol Lofthouse for her gift of a Storytelling prize and cup.  And Patience and Michael Vince for their gift of maths workbooks and dictionaries.

Sales of the school calendar have raised a total of £1273.07. An exhibition of photographs at the Temple in London has also raised £430.