Swawou School: Spring Update

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Swawou School in Sierra Leone received funding from Hazel’s Footprints to pay for the head teacher’s salary for a period of 2 years.  This is a school which was severely affected by the recent Ebola crisis. Here is the first report from the school since the grant was awarded at the end of 2015.  

Intro

It’s been an exciting few months for the Swawou School Foundation. Work commenced on completing the construction of our new school in January and we’re pleased to report that the building is now ready for use. Meanwhile, its business as usual at Swawou, with the teachers and girls busy with classes and other school activities. Below is a summary of all of our news over the last four months – thank you for all of your support in making our work possible.

Building update

In January 2016 US architect and volunteer Andrew Perkins of Orkidstudio arrived in Sierra Leone to help complete the construction of the new school. The building work had begun in 2014, but was abruptly halted just weeks from completion due to the Ebola outbreak in May 2014. Fortunately, despite enduring two heavy rainy seasons, the building structure was found to be in excellent condition on his arrival.

Between January and March, final tasks were carried out to complete the building. This included roofing, fixing all windows and doors, flooring and electrics, painting and landscaping. We’re pleased to report that the work was finally completed earlier this month, almost two years behind schedule! The beautiful new building now boasts six spacious classrooms, a toilet block, a kitchen, computer room, staff room and spacious courtyard area. The school also owns a large plot of land next to the building, which is being used to set up a school farm and playground.

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Increased enrolment at Swawou

In anticipation of the completion of the new school, a further ten girls were enrolled at Swawou in January, bringing the total number of girls receiving a free primary education up to 61. We are excited to welcome the new girls to Swawou, and are currently putting plans in place to increase the enrolment further to 120 over the next two years.

Secondary education support

In January we provided secondary school scholarships to 16 girls who have now graduated from Swawou. With so many girls in Sierra Leone at risk of early marriage, pregnancy and gender based violence, we believe it is critical to continue to support each pupil so that they can secure a higher education. Swawou will continue to monitor their progress, and support them where necessary to ensure that they can stay in school.

Gifts for the girls!

The girls were excited to receive gifts from the team at Law Business Research in London. Each girl received a small parcel which included school stationary, books and toys. The girls would like to say a big TENKI to everyone at LBR.

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Training workshop for Swawou teachers

The teachers attended a training workshop on accelerated learning last month. This is helping them to deliver the primary curriculum in a condensed amount of time, necessary due to the delays that the Ebola outbreak has caused to education in the country.

Scottish photographer Peter Dibdin visits Swawou

In April, Scottish photographer Peter Dibdin spent two weeks visiting Swawou to take a range of portraits of the new building, the pupils and teachers and the wider community.  Peter previously spent time at the school in 2014. The photographs from both visits will be used to create the ‘Kenema Book’. Containing a range of portraits and stories from the school, all proceeds will go to Swawou School Foundation. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the book, please contact Kirsty@swawou.org.

On behalf of everyone at Swawou School Foundation, thank you for supporting our work!

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