Why should we help children in Sierra Leone, West Africa when we have children in need in the U.S.?
Do you want long sleeves or short sleeves? Long-sleeves, I cut your arm off at wrist, short-sleeves, I cut your arm off at elbow. Rebels gave choices to civilians during 10 year civil war.
Special Court for Sierra Leone judges in The Hague have sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to a jail-term of 50 years after he was convicted of aiding and abetting the commission of serious crimes in Sierra Leone. He was also convicted of planning attacks on various towns including the diamond rich town of Kono in late 1998 and the country’s capital Freetown in January 1999.
When I was young I wanted to be a social worker to help people get out of poverty by teaching principles that would enable them to better their lives. As a Sociology major in college, I discovered that social workers fill out paperwork that help people get assistance, but don’t help people leave poverty and live better lives. Government assistance only perpetuated a culture of dependence upon the government.
From April, 1994 until December, 1997, my husband, Jay and I ministered to homeless people in Fort Worth. Every Saturday we took a hot meal to the corners of Hattie and Crawford streets, held a service and served food. We saw God change some people’s lives and we are grateful to God for changed lives. What we also found was a subculture of people who had burned bridges with family and friends through excessive use of drugs/alcohol, crime and a lack of willingness to change their lives. Contractors hire day laborers and give them a day’s wages, minus transportation and meal costs; so the individual earns five or six dollars which pays for a bunk for the night. Some individuals opt to spend the money on beer or crack cocaine and sleep outside. Free meals and clothes are offered through many church and service organizations. I am not denying that some people are helped and are able to get out this poverty cycle and it is worth giving assistance to help them. Every individual is worthy in God’s eyes and His desire for all to come the saving grace and knowledge of Him.
In July, 2012 Jay and I went with Bishop Charles Kent and Lese Harrell to Sierra Leone. We met Bishop Sahr Ericson Konoyima who was led by God to live in Kono. Bishop Konoyima started a church in Koidu in 1995. This church has birthed many pastors who now minister is other churches in Kono. God led Bishop Konoyima to start a school in 2009. He first asked church members who wanted to be teachers to go to college and get teacher certification. His wife, Mayrose Konoyima is the Headmistress of the Holy Ghost Royal Academy in Koidu. We visited classrooms and attended a program presented by the school. Children as young as three years old stood up and recited information in a clear, confident voice. As a teacher, myself, I was very impressed by the knowledge the children possessed. We also visited Holy Ghost Royal Academies in Sewafe and Woama. The children and teachers in these schools were just as impressive. These children were learning without school supplies, multiple classes in the same room and in Woama with only partial walls and most of the roof missing.
The adults have determined that their children will have an education and a better future. When we returned to the states in July we began telling people about the people and schools in Kono. By the beginning of November, $4,895.00 had been sent to Bishop Konoyima. When we arrived in Kono on November 19, we saw tremendous changes. Four additional classrooms and an office had been completed at the Holy Ghost Royal Academy in Koidu. Floors had been added to the classrooms and the classrooms had more posters and learning materials. Additionally, new schools had started in September in Bendu and Small Sefadu. Every dollar sent made a difference.
If you are looking for a great return on your investment, please consider the schools in Kono District, Sierra Leone. Many needs still exist: additional classrooms, improvements to schools, school buses, additional educational materials, laptop computers, and tuition for students, scholarships for college.