Sierra Leone is one of the countries with the highest illiteracy rates in the world. According to a 2018 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report, Sierra Leone’s adult literacy rate is 43.21%. The male literacy rate is 51.65%, and for females, it is 34.85%.
The gap between these two groups reflects the need to create more opportunities for young girls and women to gain access to education and educational resources. For young girls and women to take advantage of these opportunities, support services such as childcare and family planning need to be available since women are the primary caregivers and responsible for the bulk of domestic duties in Sierra Leone.
Impact Sierra Leone (ISL) acknowledges that education disparities exist in Sierra Leone between the sexes. In response, ISL took action and held our 1st annual book drive for the children attending Ansarul Primary School of Foindu Village, Sierra Leone on Saturday July 10th in Maryland. While both male and female students will benefit from the drive, there is a special focus on young girls attending the school. Our goal is to introduce reading to them at an early age, so they are better positioned to pursue higher education, vocational training and advocate for themselves and their communities.
The book drive was organized and hosted by ISL’s Founder and President, Adama Kalokoh. Over 300 books were collected, including other school supplies such as pencils, pens, notebooks, motivational materials and teaching aids. The books and other items collected will benefit approximately 200 girls and boys – ages ranging from 4-15 as well as their parents. The book drive is in support of Impact Sierra Leone’s Seeds of Life Campaign – a farming initiative that is providing fresh produce for the students and families of Foindu Village and promoting health and wellness.
The annual book drive is also a component of the future Empowerment Center for Women in Foindu, which will provide vocational training, childcare and other support services for women in the community. A library for the community is also in the works. Book drive attendees were encouraged to donate books on nutrition and health, which will be used to teach students and their parents about the benefits of healthy food, adopting healthy habits and the role that nutrition plays in overall well-being and academic performance. The books collected will meet a huge need in Foindu village where the illiteracy rates are more than 80% of the population.
Despite the extremely warm temperatures on the day of the book drive, over a dozen people attended, making it a successful and worthwhile event. Attendees had the opportunity to meet ISL staff, family members and learn more about Impact Sierra Leone’s current projects and the children in Foindu Village.
The books and additional items have been shipped to Sierra Leone and should arrive in a few month.
If you have books, school supplies or other instructional material you would like to donate, please send an email to Adama_Kalokoh@yahoo.com. Additionally, visit www.impactsierraleone.org for more information on our Seeds of Life Campaign and other projects. We thank you for your continued support as we work together to make our world more livable and improve the lives of our future leaders and fellow brothers and sisters. United We Stand and Together We Rise!
Written by: Yeabu Conteh