The path to High School
In 2015, supported by our Set4Life friends in the UK, the first little group of five Class 6 children left the village to begin their high school journey at a school run by UK charity, Educaid. A day’s travel from home, they braved the great unknown to study for and sit the national secondary entrance exam. When they returned home for their first term break, the community called them their ‘Shining Lights’.
This became the path for Yiben students to continue their education, with a few more brave souls joining the Educaid group each year. Even with their sponsorship and the support of a wonderful school, it was a challenging road for these young people. Each has their own story of struggle, disruption and determination. Mallam was their constant support, coordinating arrangements, travelling with them, encouraging and advising both students and parents.
When the Covid pandemic struck the UK in 2020, the London-based supporters found they could no longer provide for the Secondary Students; and there was no way that parents could cover the costs to keep them at Educaid. Several had relatives who could help, but ultimately eighteen students had lost their opportunity, including three of the original group who were about to begin their Senior studies.
The parents and students asked for our help to continue but, on top of our healthcare commitment, it was out of our reach too… until Mallam found a solution… a newly built boarding house in Fadugu was available to lease. This we could stretch for while the parents provided books and uniforms. Mallam enrolled them in the Fadugu government schools as his wards; and so their education continued. Three years on, there are 32 Yiben students at the Boarding Home, with 15 preparing for National Exams. At a recent High School Awards Ceremony, three Yiben Students took prizes!
Under Mallam’s watchful and fatherly guidance, the tightly-knit group of thirteen to nineteen year-olds have strict rules. They cook together, do their laundry, clean the house and take care of each other. They attend school and extra study classes daily. They can visit their families at weekends but parents agree they must not be kept there to work on the farms during the school week. This is a sacrifice the families make for their children’s future.
Passing the national exams at the end of Class 6 and the end of Junior Secondary are great personal achievements for these students and help to raise possibilities and set norms for their community. Those now aiming for their West African Senior School Certificate are proving all things are possible with motivation and opportunity.
We believe that healthcare and education development go hand in hand. We are extremely grateful for like-minded supporters who have made it possible for us to lease the accommodation, provide solar lighting, furniture and bedding, pay extra study fees and incidental costs and help with the cost of food.
We are seeking education sponsors at just $25 per month to help us sustain the support.