Project: Alberta Canada Primary School, Romano Village, Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone
Partner: Tamaraneh Society
This project is the dream of Memunatu Dura Kamara, a refugee from Sierra Leone, and her friends. Through their fundraising and Change for Children support they have built a 9 room school house for the children of Romano village after their earlier school was destroyed in the civil war. Currently the project works to provide funds for teachers’ salaries and to continue to develop the school, which provides classes for children and youth from 6 surrounding communities. The school is named Alberta Canada Primary School.
In Ramona Village, Sierra Leone, the Alberta Canada Primary School is alive and well. Funds have been raised to hire four teachers at the yearly Sierra Leone rate of $1,400.00 per teacher. These teachers teach 630 children how to do basic reading and math with only 100 notebooks and pencils, very few texts and children sitting five to a bench. In addition they have to figure out how to feed all those hungry children by 2:00 in the afternoon before they start the two hour walk home. When the day is finished, teachers head off to the Memonatu Dura Kamara’s father’s small house where they sleep two to a room. Meanwhile the villagers have other things to deal with; tending the community gardens to try to stretch food for everyone, digging a well for water and trying to build a community health centre so that the high death rate for mothers giving birth and their children dying from easily treated illnesses can be somewhat abated. But the villagers are courageous and hard working because they have hope. They know that someone in Alberta, Canada is their voice and works tirelessly for them. Who is this person and how did this project start?
A year ago I met Memonatu Dura Kamera from Sierra Leone after she spoke at a conference and sang a song about coming to Canada that charmed everyone’s hearts. This remarkable woman was the president of a refugee camp between Sierra Leone and Guinea for seven horrible years. She underwent every kind of deprivation, abuse and torture and through some very incredible events managed to immigrate to Canada three years ago with six of her own children and two that she adopted. During the three years Memonatu has been here she managed to go from a grade three level of education to grade ten, get a nursing assistant diploma and continues her studies now so she can be a social worker.
For most of us, this would have been enough, considering she was also feeding a very large family and improving her English. But Memonatu was haunted by the suffering of her compatriots and so she started a project to build a primary school in Ramona village, Sierra Leone, through a variety of fund raisers. The school is now built, and Memonatu has been continuously working to fund and make sustainable the infrastructure that this forgotten and neglected people need to rebuild their lives after a devastating war. The Ramona Village project in Sierra Leone needs ongoing funding to bring it to the point were people can live with a minimum of human dignity. Donors can choose to give to a variety of projects ranging from farming to school supplies to teacher and health care worker salaries to health care supplies. And they can hear directly from the people through the videos and letters they send regularly to Canada via Memona.