Back in 2012, Amphigean Managing Director Pete Simpson’s eldest son went out to Sierra Leone to teach for EducAid for three months. Pete decided to join him for the final two weeks and got involved himself with writing lessons and activity books, and teaching children in both primary and secondary schools. It was a challenging and rewarding experience that left a lasting impression on Pete.
Miriam Mason-Sesay is the remarkable woman who in 2000 set up the first EducAid school in Sierra Leone, in a back garden with a small whiteboard. Hailing from rural Northamptonshire, Miriam had previously gained wide teaching experience across inner-city colleges and private schools in England. It was actually her brother, Swithun, who along with a friend founded EducAid as a charity and inspired Miriam’s radical change of direction.
Miriam relocated to Freetown and set up her school for vulnerable children: ex-combatants, orphans, and child-mothers. Back then she started with 20 children but EducAid has since flourished and now educates thousands of students across primary and secondary schools as well as delivering best-practice training and management programmes for state-employed teachers from across the nation. Due to a high emphasis on equality, the participation rate of girls in EducAid secondary school is double the Sierra Leone average. Miriam leads a teaching team of 150, two-thirds of whom are past pupils.
Miriam has devised innovative programmes for all subjects, and her students reach the highest pass rates in the country in public exams – an extraordinary achievement. We at Amphigean are incredibly impressed by all this and have tried to play our part over the past few years. Along with the annual donations that we make, we have provided a range of electrical equipment, as well as a series of training videos on learning techniques.
Amphigean has recently worked with Miriam to script and build two videos for the EducAid website and for use in presentations or indeed any other purpose. One of the videos explains EducAid’s amazing journey, its philosophy, and its vision for the future. The second video outlines EducAid’s values and teaching techniques in more detail, and how its work is making such a profound difference to the lives of disadvantaged young Sierra Leonians.
If you would like to give a one-off or ongoing donation to support EducAid, you can find more information here http://www.educaid.org.uk/get-involved/donate/
In recognition of her achievements, Miriam received an MBE in 2013 and the World of Children Education award in 2015. But Miriam would say it’s not about her, it’s simply about giving bright and motivated young people a fighting chance to realise their potential.
‘EducAid continues to be one of the charities most dear to us. Perhaps it’s Miriam’s optimism, unfaltering drive for equality and continuous fight for what is right, that keeps the charity in our minds, or it’s how positive the kids are and the amazing things they achieve with so little resources. In fact, it’s all of those things and more. We are extremely proud to be associated with such a worthwhile charity, where every penny or gift given is put to use benefitting people on the ground.’Pete Simpson, Amphigean Managing Director.