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Newsletter 8 November, 2007


Five years ago when we first travelled to Rogbonko Village to discuss the possibility of building a school, one of the people we met was Augustine Kamara. Augustine was then the secretary to the village committee and one of the only literate people in Rogbonko. He soon proved himself indispensable to our efforts, conducting a village census with Simon (Westcott), acting as translator and record keeper. Our first school was built a short time afterwards, entirely by volunteers and made of bamboo and thatch. Augustine seemed the obvious choice to become the first schoolmaster of what was then just an informal school. Over the years we have worked to raise standards by employing fully qualified teachers. Thanks to a generous individual donation to the Rogbonko Village School Trust, we were able to offer our untrained teachers the chance to go to college and Augustine was the first to gain a place at Makeni Teacher Training College. The Trust bought him a bicycle to enable him to attend classes. That was three years ago. This summer Augustine passed his Final Exams to become a fully qualified teacher. We are delighted to offer him our wholehearted congratulations.


Allie Smith, educational consultant and former London primary school headmistress, had to pull out of the April 2007 London Marathon after months of training following a back injury days before the event. Allie’s plan was to raise sufficient funds to send herself to Rogbonko to help train our teachers in new teaching methods. As it turned out almost all of you who sponsored Allie decided to send the money anyway. £750 in all was raised. Allie was immensely touched by your support and will be off to Rogbonko in 2008.



This year’s Christmas fundraiser is the Rogbonko Village School Tea Towel, based on a design by Rogbonko School pupil and competition winner Adama Sesay. Adama had her first art class a year ago when Freetown based artist Rosalind Hanson Alp visited Rogbonko. We hope you’ll love the result as much as we do and agree it makes a perfect Christmas gift. Disappointingly, this year we won’t be selling the Rogbonko School Calendar as our former printer has moved on and we’ve been unable to secure similarly competitive printing rates.


All nine children who sat the secondary school entrance exams this year have been successful. That brings to a total of 22 the number of children who have graduated from Rogbonko. All are enrolled at Magburaka Secondary School, their fees paid for by the Rogbonko Osusu Fund, set up by the villagers to help provide their children with a secondary education. For the second year running Rogbonko School candidates achieved the highest exam marks in the area.


Rogbonko Village School Trust supplied and sent £900 worth of sports equipment, including a table tennis table, volleyball and badminton equipment. UNESCO Youth Ambassador Don McBurney also donated several boxes of sports goods, including balls, skipping ropes and frisbees. Our thanks to him for his continued support.


At the request of the school staff, Rogbonko Village School Trust has supplied funding for several sewing machines and sewing equipment to begin needlework classes at Rogbonko School. Teachers and pupils plan to sell the class’ creations to help raise funds for their school.