After a long break, partly due to Covid-19, we are delighted to bring you some news of our latest activities. The 16th of June, Day of the African Child, is always celebrated by the Lottie Betts-Priddy Education Trust, and this year was no different. By coincidence, 16th June is also Lottie’s birthday, so the date has real resonance for us.
Our marking of the event this year was very special. Our Chair, Isa Davies, was privileged to be at the school we have chosen to support: Rural Education Committee Primary School, Adonkia, on the outskirts of Freetown. She was fortunate enough to be accompanied by two members of Lottie’s family—her daughter, Ayodele, and her niece, Samantha who was kind enough to take photographs and record short video clips.
As a goodwill gesture and in commemoration of the day, TLBPET purchased fabrics that a local tailor had made up into skirts and headbands for the girls and shorts for the boys. The minister attached to the school, Reverend Pratt, kindly handed out the garments to the youngest children, from the nursery class and those in Class 1.
Dressed in their best outfits, the children along with their teachers welcomed the TLBPET delegation. Initially, the children were a little shy but eventually encouraged by the relaxed and informal atmosphere, they lost their reticence and started talking to Isa about what changes and improvements they wanted to see in their school. Young as they were, they had very clear and practical ideas about their challenges.
Fatmata Sankoh from Nursery 1 wanted better seating: “(my) bench is not good.” David Ngaujah, Class 6, said that he wanted to stay at this school; however, unless the school is expanded to Junior and Senior Secondary levels, he won’t be able to finish his schooling in the village.
Ibrahim Koroma, age 10 in Class 3, wanted us to build an upper floor for their school so that his class could move into the main building from the aluminium sheet extension or ‘pan bodi’ they now use. There are 58 pupils in this class!
The next day, Samantha and Isa returned to the school and, joined by the Deputy Head Teacher, distributed stationery items to the pupils and supplementary texts for Maths and English to their teachers.
The children together with their teachers were very appreciative of the donations by TLBPET. They are looking forward with great anticipation to see what tangible improvements our collaboration can make in the school environment – teaching, learning and physical.
All in all, we were delighted to have had this opportunity to share the Day of the African Child 2021, with the pupils and staff at the school which we are going to support. We will be keeping you up to date with our plans as they evolve.
Since 1991, June 16 has been a focus for a celebration of the African Child. This day of recognition is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of children in Africa, and on the need for continuing improvement in their educational provision and opportunities.
The Day was inspired by the street protests in Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, in 1976 by school children. Under the apartheid system, the education provided for black children was of an inferior standard and did little to prepare them for life. The student protesters were met by gunshots and over a hundred were killed and hundreds more wounded. More information about the Soweto protests, including a video clip of news coverage on the BBC’s ‘on this day’ website, http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/16/newsid_2514000/2514467.stm
This date has a special significance for us because it is Lottie’s birthday. She died 21 years ago and we continue to use the charity to advance her passion for and commitment to education.
We would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year! Thank you for your continuing interest and support in what has been a quiet year for The Lottie Betts-Priddy Education Trust although not for the society at large. Between Brexit, concerns about the climate, the various initiatives being proposed by the government of Sierra Leone, new opportunities and challenges continue to emerge for us.
We are expecting to announce a new project in the New Year and will contact you all directly to let you know about it.
One of our supporters has made an excellent suggestion that combines their desire to help save the planet with their wish to maintain the charitable support. They have used the funds they would normally spend on buying and posting Christmas cards to make a donation to TLBPET (other Charities are available)! We invite others to make the same decision.
We would like to invite you to support our fundraising efforts by becoming a giver on the giving machine website. So many of us shop online these days and by doing your shopping through the giving machine website, you can make donations without actually spending any additional funds.
When you go through the website, the retailers provide a small fee to ‘The Giving Machine’ which then forwards the fee on to The Lottie Betts-Priddy Education Trust. You simply need to register as a giver and nominate “The Lottie Betts-Priddy Education Trust” as your charity. You do not need to enter payment details onto the giving machine website www.thegivingmachine.co.uk and for convenience you can download a ‘shop and give’ reminder that alerts you whenever you enter a retail site that is part of the giving machine family.
All your favourite retailers have signed up as well as many major charities. Please consider fundraising in this way!
Keeping true to his commitment to girls’ education, His Excellency President Brigadier General (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio has on Tuesday 17th April 2018 committed his government to a new global goal of achieving 12 years of quality education for all girls by 2030 during a meeting at the Queen Elizabeth 11 Conference Centre in London.
In a statement at a meeting organised by the Commonwealth Women’s Forum on the theme “Towards a Common Future – An Empowered Future for Women and Girls”, President Bio told the audience that: “Education creates vast opportunities for any country to reduce unfair income distribution, increase choices for all and create a strong ladder of opportunities for all. We all agree that education creates awareness and helps to sustain democracy and peace.”
Amongst the benefits of educating girls, President Bio also mentioned that educating girls delivered large health benefits as educated women have fewer children and the children they do have are healthier. He went on: “I therefore commit my new Government to deliver 12 years of Good quality education by 2030. I commit to ensuring that Girls, Children with Disability and other Disadvantaged Groups have Equal Opportunities to complete the full cycle of Primary and Secondary Education.”
“I am making this commitment to Action because I firmly believe that Free education is the bedrock for sustainable development and long-term peace. By this Action we are fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, i.e “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning,” President Bio ended.
The 2030 new vision for Education is part of the Girls’ Education Framework working towards ensuring that girls in Commonwealth receive quality education and have the skills they need to lead and succeed. The commitment by President Bio demonstrates the seriousness his Government attaches not only to education but specifically to girls’ education.
We are really sorry to let you know that we will not be holding our usual carol service on the 1st Sunday of December. Regretfully, the Trustees will be unable to meet, greet and thank our supporters and friends this year. Hopefully, the carol service will be re-instated in 2018.
We wish you all a merry Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous and happy New Year!