By Allieu Moiwa (YES 2013-2014, Sierra Leone, hosted by AFS in Enterprise, OR)
In celebration of Global Youth Service Day and the 66th anniversary of the Government Secondary School Kenema, Joseph Samba (YES 2015-2016, Sierra Leone, hosted by AYUSA in Macon, GA) and myself, Allieu Moiwa, wanted to give back to our alma mater. We developed a project for the provision of 200 mathematical sets to need-based students in our former school. In Sierra Leone, students who choose to study on the science track must use a mathematical set. Mathematical sets are comprised of various tools that help with mathematical exercises such as drawing and constructing geometrics shapes; these sets are essential for students in the science track. Unfortunately, many low-income students who have a passion to learn are met with financial restraints as the sets are expensive and thus difficult for families to afford. Our project was in an effort to level the playing field between socioeconomic classes by providing 200 mathematical sets to low-income students.
We saw a need to do this project as very few students own mathematical sets, and it has become the norm for multiple students to share one set amongst their peers. One teacher told us that the lack of mathematical sets makes teaching cumbersome as students have to share, which consumes precious teaching time and makes the class move at a slow pace. We believe that the provision of these sets will motivate students to do their best in their classes.
After we distributed the mathematical sets the principal thanked Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study and International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) Sierra Leone for selecting deserving students. The principal said he was delighted that we, as alumni of the school and beneficiaries of KLYES, put in the effort and made the initiative to create a project that helps younger students climb the ladder of education and development.
Despite students’ backgrounds and the difficulty they endure in acquiring education, students from the Government Secondary School Kenema are becoming well rounded and motivated citizens in the country and around the world. The students at the school remain ever committed and hard working to receive a quality education to contribute to their societies. As the motto of school goes, “Aut Optimum, Aut Nihil,” which translates to, “Either the Best or Nothing.” Students are a testament to this ever living motto of the school by their exemplary works around the country and globally.
After we distributed the mathematical sets, we held an hour long discussion with students on Global Youth Service Day and the essence of community service, maintaining peace, tolerance, and social harmony among people. Students participated in a clean up around the school compound to mark their first GYSD celebrations. In closing remarks the students expressed thanks and delight for the gesture and pledged to continue to serve those in need. We hope to extend the program to other schools and provide more needed materials the next time.