Mr. Koramar Morondeen
Library in 5 years!
Fully qualified and paid, full-time teachers!
“The biggest change since Africa Yes! Is the children
are eager to come to school! And proud! They see the village is changing and growing. They want to grow too!”
20 years of Teaching Trained by the SL govt
Favorite Subject to Teach:
Agriculture and English
6 Community teachers receive a monthly stipend of 50,000 SL (12.5 USD) when funds are available.
Please consider making a monthly donation to support their stipends!
Mr. Koramar Morondeen was born in Gbeworbu, and has spent most of his 64 years in the village. During the war, he fled to Liberia, where he became a teacher. As word spread that Sierra Leone was at peace, he felt a tug on his heart to return to his home. In 2000, he returned to conditions he called “not very very safe.”
Today, he is a community teacher for classes 1 through 3 (the village has classes all the way to 6!). All three classes have more girls than boys, and range from from 124 students to 25 students. As with most community teachers, it is difficult to balance his time assisting students beyond his lesson plans and supporting his family through sustenance farming. Mr. Morondeen’s favorite subject is agricultural due to its practical uses for students who are unable to continue schooling. In fact, he uses his lessons to provide vegetables for the school. Although he strives to increase the number of students passing exams to continue to the Jr. Secondary School 3 miles away, he knows there will always be some who are forced to stay behind for any number of reasons. He believes that if a student must stop going to school, at least they may choose to support their family by growing their own food and selling excess crops.
He proudly exclaimed that 13 students were preparing for the Jr. Secondary School Entry Exam. Each exam costs 60,000 SL (15USD) and is a great reminder of the accomplishments that the village has achieved in the last 5 years. When asked about the biggest change he’s seen in the village, Mr. Morondeen replied “The biggest change since Africa Yes! is the children are eager to come to school! And proud! They see the village is changing and growing. They want to grow too!” This is especially true for girls, who out number the boys.
Despite these achievements, there is still struggle. Since tripling the number of children attending school, the number of paid teachers did not increase, nor the space. While the government has recognized 2 official teachers, currently 8 teachers are required to teach all the children. As a result, each day teachers from nearby villages volunteer to teach when available. Those consistently teaching every day are able to receive a monthly stipend, 50,000 SL (12.5USD), through donations.
Additionally, the village has taken it upon themselves (with assistance from donors of Africa Yes!) to expand the school. Efforts were doubly rewarded when Africa Yes! was able to ship barrels of school supplies. Currently, the village is constructing an additional building to house 2 more classrooms. This will ease classroom sizes (class 1 has 124 students!), but Mr. Morondeen points out that is only half the battle. “Teaching materials are lacking” he explains as he states the many obstacles ranging from 4 teachers teaching different lessons in one room, to ensuring the children have the right materials. Despite this, he loves teaching and has big dreams for the community. He hopes to one day see a library in the village and have each teacher paid regularly, and well qualified beyond governmental training and workshops. “Each teacher with a bachelors degree and well trained!”
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Fodei called two days ago to say that Chief Mambu Mansaray, the town chief of Gbeworbu, had passed away this week. The chief was always very welcoming to me when I was in the village, and he was a strong supporter of the work being done to improve the town. He lived a long life, and from my perspective here, he became a better and better chief as time passed. So I will miss him and am sorry he will not be there when I am able to visit again.
There will be the traditional 40 days mourning period before the town chooses a new chief. From our perspective, of course, we hope the new chief will be as supportive of Africa Yes, and as open-handed, as Chief Mambu.
This is the latter part of dry season, and the construction projects are moving forward at a steady pace. The foundations for the three big projects – school addition, clinic addition, and rice mill – were completed about two weeks ago, so walls are now rising.
The village received a last-minute visit from the Ministry of Health three weeks ago. We hoped that would mean that the staff of the clinic would start receiving their salaries from the government, and/or that more medicines for adults would be provided, but neither of those things have happened yet. The visitors were pleased to see the continued progress and have decided to make the clinic one of their HIV outreach centers. So the clinic addition will include a small room for the outreach team. According to Munir, there are no persons in Gbeworbu known to have HIV.
Of the 40 houses being built this year in 8 villages, all are finished or in progress. Three of those villages will complete the first phase of their participation in the housing project this year, and make way for the three new villages on the waiting list. In the meantime, during rainy season and into next year, they will move into Phase 2, plastering the walls of all the new houses. We will provide cement for the plastering, and the homeowners will provide sand, water, and labor.
Fodei and Munir send their warmest greetings to all.
SC (Steve Cameron) Founder Former Peace Corps Volunteer, Father