Sherbro Foundation Sierra Leone celebrated our 5th anniversary as a nonprofit on March 14, 2018!
We started with a simple goal: educate girls and improve overall literacy in rural Bumpeh Chiefdom. With literacy, people make better choices, boost their livelihoods and improve their lives and those of their children.
In 2013, our first scholarship program sent 67 7th and 8th grade girls to one secondary school. Today, over 600 girls have advanced their educations at four schools with 1250 Sherbro Foundation scholarships – some receiving scholarships for two or three years.
Help celebrate this 5th year milestone. Join us now in sending the first girls graduating to college.
First college scholarship Last fall, you helped us step up to this next challenge with a big response to our secondary school scholarship campaign. We added a college scholarship.
Meet Aminata Kamara, the first awardee for 2017-18. Her story is one of focus and perseverance against all odds. You’ll see why this exceptional scholar was chosen.
Village beginning Aminata, left, is the youngest of 12 children. Her parents scratched together a living in the Rotifunk area. It’s typical of the chiefdom, with mud houses and where most earn a dollar or two a day as small traders at the weekly market. Her father was a primary school teacher, a low paying job, and her mother a trader. Now, her father is retired and her mother blind.
High ranking scholar Aminata was among the first local girls who made it to senior high.
Then in 2016, she ranked highest of the first three Rotifunk students to pass the national graduation exam at the university requirements level. All three were girls with Sherbro Foundation scholarships. Her scores were Rotifunk’s best in 40 years.
Aminata was also the highest scoring girl in Moyamba district, one of 12 administrative districts in Sierra Leone with 40 secondary schools.
It’s uncommon to get high scores in seven subjects, when most students don’t pass the exam the first time, even in Freetown. This propelled Aminata forward with a college scholarship to study in China.
Happy news ran out The China scholarship fell through when the Sierra Leone government did not prepare her passport in time. She sat out a year pondering her fate at home taking care of her mother.
Although Aminata had no reason in her world to think her education would continue, she persevered, and in October 2017, became our first college scholarship recipient. “Since I started primary school, I have got that intention to go to college. Never mind I don’t have the hope that I will, because we are poor,’’ she said, via text message.
Proud college student Aminata, left, is now a first year student at the Institute of Public Administration and Management at the University of Sierra Leone in Freetown – thanks to Sherbro Foundation’s first college scholarship award of $1700, paying her first year’s tuition, fees, books, transportation and a stipend for living expenses.
She’s good at math and wants to study banking, and eventually become a bank manager. “I kept on studying, hoping one day God will send me a helper in my education.”
She is already dreaming of earning a master’s degree. “I would like to further [my education] overseas with a masters and become a college lecturer,” she said. “And I also want to help my colleagues in the village.”
You need a mentor Aminata’s role model is Rosaline Kaimbay, a dynamic Rotifunk native who returned to start the first girls’ secondary school in Bumpeh Chiefdom. She watched Rosaline as principal and now as managing director of the Center for Community Empowerment and Transformation, our local nonprofit partner, overseeing CCET’s seven programs. Rosaline mentors many girls, and helped the first graduate by making her home a dormitory for senior girls.
“She is a woman, but she does [so much] good and all the people in the community admire her,” Aminata said. Rosaline shows girls a woman born in their chiefdom can get a college degree and take leadership roles usually filled by men.
Aminata, left, is now becoming a role model herself and has advice for younger girls at home watching her successes.
“I want them to forget about their present status; hope [instead] to use their future. Let them forget about material things, about men — these things will pass. Let us focus about education,” she told 460 girls receiving secondary school scholarships at last fall’s award ceremony, left.
“Let us know that our tomorrow will be greater than today.”
You can make Aminata’s tomorrow greater. Help send her to a second year of university. If you’re a new donor, you’ll double your impact. A former Peace Corps Volunteer will match the first $850 from new donors. $1700 will pay Aminata’s second year in full. Pass this on to friends and family who want to see girls succeed.
AND this donor will match $250 from Cincinnati area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers!
More girls in Rotifunk are ready for college. With your help, we’ll also start a second girl on her college journey in 2018-19.
Transform a girl’s life. Send her to college here.
Any excess funds will go to our annual girls’ secondary school campaign planned for this summer. We’re keeping the pipeline full of girls getting an education and ready to change the world.
Arlene Golembiewski, Executive Director