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The African school project funded from Bridlington

YMCA Sierra Leone national general secretary Christian Kamara lays the first of the foundations.
YMCA Sierra Leone national general secretary Christian Kamara lays the first of the foundations.

This is the school in West Africa which is being transformed thanks to money raised in East Yorkshire. Staff and students at Bridlington School have formed strong links with the YMCA Hope Primary School in Sierra Leone and have raised almost £17,000 in the past year.

That money is being used to build a block of three classrooms in the town of Kenema, but the work is slow and intensive and the rainy seson is fast approaching.

The development at Hope School in Kenema

The development at Hope School in Kenema

Mark Parker-Randall, lead teacher for the Global School Partnership at Bridlington School, said: “The footings to the new teaching block have now been dug out using nothing more than pick axes and shovels by the local villagers and workers.

“Sand and cement has been imported, and concrete is being mixed by hand and poured in to form the foundation bowl by bowl.”

The existing block of three classrooms was built in 2015, at the height of the Ebola outbreak, also as a result of fundraising by Bridlington School students.

Recently, Year 7 and 8 students walked a combined total of 1,000 miles – from school to the new lifeboat station – raising hundreds of pounds in sponsorship.

Concrete is mixed by hand and carried bowl by bowl

Concrete is mixed by hand and carried bowl by bowl

Former students from around the globe have supported the appeal, but the school wants to raise a extra £6,500 to complete phase two of the development.

YMCA Sierra Leone national general secretary Christian Kamara said: “Given the high demand for good quality primary education, there is an urgent need to build more classrooms to better accommodate more children.

“With an additional three classrooms, the school will be equipped with a total of six classrooms meaning that they will be able to accommodate Years 1-6 in a specifically designated learning space for each year group at Hope Primary School.

“Currently, the remaining children who do not fit into the existing three classrooms are taught in a small workshop space that is not conducive for effective learning as there is no proper lighting and there are no windows.”

Three classrooms are being added to the site

Three classrooms are being added to the site

It is hoped that the new classroom block in Kenema will be ready to open next Easter.

“I want to thank the whole community who have joined with us to help transform young people’s lives, hopes, dreams and ambitions forever through the provision of education in one of the world’s poorest countries,” said Mr Parker-Randall.

Pupils in Sierra Leone

Pupils in Sierra Leone