Banbury Rotarian Alan Wolstencroft recently gave the Club an update about his projects in Sierra Leone, and although he last spoke to us in February this year, a lot has happened.
He began by reminding us of the project he had been introduced to in late January – a secondary school for 300+ children where their original four “mud block” classrooms were in a state of collapse. Although this was an essential need, after holding discussions with the school, he learned that they only had a matting toilet enclosure for the children, so a new toilet block was regarded as a more urgent need.
Alan started a funding appeal at the start of February and started to “drip feed” money to the school so they could begin to dig the toilet pit. It is worth reminding members that everything on the projects is done manually. The plan was to build a six cubicle toilet block and the pit measured six by one and a half metres and was four metres deep – that’s a lot of digging!! The project started on 13th February and was completed by 14th June.
The work on the first teaching block, which was two classrooms, a staffroom, office and store began on 22rd March and was fully completed by 20th June. The second phase of the teaching block, another two classrooms, began on 4th June and was completed by 5th September, just in time for the start of the new academic year. The project included the making of eighty desk/bench sets and the supply of furniture to the staffroom & office
The total project cost was £20,465. Alan thanked the Club for their donation of £3,000 at the start of the appeal
Alan also reported that at the Banbury International Community School they had just completed the installation of a solar panelled electricity to some of the classrooms and that this may be extended in the future.
Sadly in June, Fayia, Alans “man on the ground” passed away at the age of just 46, leaving a wife and five children. Alan explained that there is no social welfare system in the country and that children have to pay basic school fees. A number of Alan’s colleagues, from Rotary Mission Challenge, had helped the family with funeral costs and Alan is currently putting in place a scheme to pay the ongoing school fees for the children.
The week before he died Fayia had sent a comprehensive budget for the building of an additional two classrooms at the Banbury School and these will be built in the coming months in Fayia’s memory.