Saturday, April 18, 2009

School For Salone

It’s interesting how people make connections but when it happens it can be very special. That is how I would describe my getting to know about Cindy Notziger and her organization “Schools for Salone”. Cindy, a former Peace Corps volunteer posted to Masanga in the 80’s, found out about a need for schools in remote villages and decided to respond by raising money to build schools. And since they started they have been involved in building nine schools. Cindy does this on top of being a mother and holding down a full time position with Seattle Public Schools.

Please check out her website for more information.

Cindy is welcomed with open arms by some students where a school as been built.

Cindy and her son Michael, who accompanied her on the trip, are meeting with the chief of the village where a school has been built.

In SL she partners with Joseph Lamin, on left, who is Executive Director of Masanga Children's Fund. This year they are sponsoring over 300 children with school fees, small money for living allowances, etc. He supports the destitute of the destitute in SL. He is a social worker by training, has a graduate degree in Community Development from a University in London. He was also a partner in a construction firm in SL for about 10 years which means he knows a lot about getting schools built. Here he is meeting with some school teachers.

Together they make an amazing team that gives children in remote areas more opportunities to go to school.

Cindy came in March to attend the Opening Ceremony of a newly built school and to visit all the other schools that have built or are in the process of being built. I was invited to go along on this trip and here are some of the pictures that I took. I am making my pictures available to her to use in whatever way will promote her organization.

At the opening ceremony you can see how the community welcomed us. The women made food and sang for us. The children also performed. And at the end the plaque bearing the name of the school was unveiled. This school was paid for by an NFL player, Madieu Williams, whose family is from SL.

Another program that SFS has is school sponsorships. Cindy is showing the young girl who is being sponsored her picture.

The picture shows two students who have qualified to go on to Secondary School. As you can see few students make it past 6 years of primary school!

When we got to this school the children were waiting for us. It was nice to be able to show the faces of the children. Supplies were delivered along with a new soccer ball.

This village is getting a new school and you can see how the old school was not very good. On our visit we were able to collect some books from another organization which is shipping books to Africa The children and teachers were so excited to get some books as they have few books in the school.

This is the last school that we visited. It is located in a rutile mining area. There are lots of problems due to this, such as pollution of water, devastation of the countryside and the company giving little back to the local community. The kids met us on the road and paraded to the school compound where they lined up to greet us. ( Note the sign about heavy traffic due to use of the road by trucks.) Supplies were delivered and meetings with the teachers were held. As we left the children showed how excited they were to have had our visit.

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