bangor, County Down
When the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone finally came to an end, the enormous scale of the damage finally became apparent. The economy and infrastructure of the country was in ruins but by far the greatest cost was human and as usual the children pay most. Sierra Leone was left with tens of thousands of children who had lost their parents. Many of these children had been used by both armies as soldiers or slaves, including sex slaves. Lost, alone and seriously damaged, these children need help. any thing form educational needs and well-being would be very great full to send.
Rev Edna Kabbah was Christian Pastor in the central Sierra Leone town of Kenema who has always had a special ministry with children. In the year 2000 her vision for helping these children came to reality when she secured support from Bangor after visiting her daughter Marion Murphy who lives here. The initial finance enabled Rev Kabbah to hire premises in Kenema and pay for three teachers and so the Good Shepherd Ministry began. The orphans were already there, sleeping on the streets and around 30 of them, in her home!
With steady support and enormous energy, the school has grown into a major ministry, serving over 450 pupils in primary and secondary education; employing 14 full and part time teachers (including vocational instructors); and now producing some of the best exam results in the country.
The school still takes place in rented accommodation until enough funds have been raised to begin building on their own site, which was donated by a local paramount chief who was impressed by their work. The pupils are made up of orphans and local children under a clever arrangement. Rev Kabbah and her team have negotiated with a large number of local families who have ‘adopted’ orphan children and care for them in exchange for free education for their own children. In a community of such deep and widespread poverty (officially the poorest country in the world) this is a remarkable achievement; however the number of 30 or so children who sleep around Edna’s floor space never seems to diminish! sadly she pass away in 2009. the work is still going on and with God we will keep going with the legacy.
The school also provides one basic meal a day for the children. As well as the national curriculum there is also a vocational school for young adults. This education is vital for a generation who were never taught the normal skills of living; instead they learned things no child should ever be exposed to. Here they learn cooking, sewing, hairdressing, woodwork, farming etc, skills to earn a living and manage a home with.
with support we can give a better life. we need help.
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