Thursday, February 26, 2009
While I was home in Hattiesburg in January, a former student of Bob’s, Raven Wilkes Tynes, offered to put on a fundraiser for the children who needed scholarships to continue going to school at the Cardiff Preparatory School. A few years ago Raven, along with her husband Paul, formed an organization called Six Mile Drought to raise money for water projects in Kenya. So when she saw my request for scholarships on this blog she offered her help. At the same time a high school student from Petal, Mississippi, Zach Martin, came to her wanting to do something for his senior project. She suggested our project and so in late January Zach organized a Coffee House evening for young people to learn about human rights and raise money to help support the children. I was able to attend and brought some information with me about Sierra Leone. Zach put up a great display with pictures of the children and their school. Mostly young people attended. There was music, dancing, food, and other displays on general human rights issues. In the end they were able to raise enough money to keep the four children in school for another year. I am so proud of these young people as it shows a real commitment to the needs of people in underdeveloped countries. Other friends made contributions as well and to all of you I thank you on behalf of the children.
This week I met with the parents of the children who are receiving scholarships and the deputy headmistress, Florence Kamara. The parents were so appreciative of the funds we were able to raise for the children as you can see through the photos. Paul Tynes designed the T-shirts, showing the silhouetted faces of the children against the background of the Sierra Leoneon flag, which were given to the children and their parents.
Ista came with her father Sanussie Kamara.who obviously cares a lot about his daughter and wants her to succeed in school. Isata is in 5th grade. Next year when she finishes elementary school she will sit for a test to enter secondary school. Her father makes a very meager living breaking larger stones into small ones for construction contractors.. His calloused, bruised hands show how hard this work is as he only uses hand tools and physical strength for this process.
Sarah is being taken care of by her grandmother Kaday Mansaray since her mother died giving birth to a younger sibling. Her father is trying to support the family the best that he can since his wife's death.