Coba Junction is a remote village in the north of Sierra Leone, close to the Guinean border. The people in this part of the country, like in many developing countries, are subsistence farmers: they grow food and keep cattle primarily to feed themselves and their families.
Coba Junction is surrounded by seven villages. The total population of this area is about 4,000, with many children (about 38% of the total population) aged between four and 12 years.
On August 14th 2012, the people of Coba Junction wrote us a letter requesting us to help them build a school. Currently, children are taught in a construction consisting of wooden poles supporting a roof made of palm leaves. This hut can accommodate 50 children at most, which comes down to two classes.
In January 2013, 169 children were enrolled at the Coba Junction primary school. Due to the limited space of the hut, most of these children are taught outdoors, where possible in the shade of a tree. This may seem an OK solution, but it only works during the dry season, which can last up to six months (November through to April). Once the rainy season (May – October) is over a new hut has to be built due to the strong winds that often accompany rain in Sierra Leone. As a result, the children can only be taught six months a year!
Coba Junction’s Town Chief has asked us to support his people and enable them to build a brick school, so that the children in this area can continue their lessons during the rainy season. We would love to help the people of Coba Junction realise a four-classroom building, possibly with a teachers’ room and a library. We also want to make sure there will be sufficient toilets (so-called VIP latrines, i.e. private latrines) and possibly a well.
According to our estimation, we will need at least € 44,000 to make this happen – a lot of money!
A secondary school in Voorburg, the Sint Maartenscollege has raised a phenomenal €8,359 by organising all kinds of activities, amongst which an amazing dance contest between the teachers of this school, “So you think your teacher can dance”. Also, a Dutch organisation called Wilde Ganzen will support this project financially by donating 50% of the total amount we will manage to raise. However, this will still leave us with insufficient funds. After all, once the school has been built, we will have to furnish it, employ teachers and arrange for school uniforms (teaching materials will be supplied by the Sierra Leonean government). This is why we participate in fundraising events such as the Dam to Dam sponsored walk.