ADONKIA ADULTS’ EDUCATIONAL TRUST
SUPORTED BY ALEC RUSSELL EDUCATIONAL TRUST (ARET)
END OF YEAR REPORT July 2021
The Adult Education School is one of the few adult’s schools in the Western Rural District, it has proved to have a very positive impact on the lives of many Sierra Leonans. This is especially evident in the Adonkia Community Women’s group who have experienced a tremendous turn around for themselves. The project had been so successful since the start of the academic year. Behind its success is the financial support ARET is providing the school, continuous and regular participation among the students and including the teachers. Further evidence of the success is that in the beginning male students were mocked for applying to be admitted to the project. Now, there is a long waiting list. Not all applicants are local but some would even travel to learn. In addition to this we have visitors from other communities to learn about the project.
Some of the obstacles we have encountered this year are:
- Corvid 19 restrictions and lock down
- too much request of school materials by students.
We could do nothing about COVID but we have printed off sufficient materials which could be used at home by themselves with teacher’s supervision or by any educated family members. This placed an unexpected financial burden on the school funds but with COVID restrictions it is not advisable to ask students to share.
The school is proud of all the improvement in skills shown by the students: practical skill training and the progression in ability to read and write. A few of them now believe they are ready to be entrepreneurs: Fatu Kamara, Kadiatu Dumbuya, pa Alimany Conteh. Others will continue to do better by continuing with teaching and skills training and guidance on how to cope with corvid 19 restriction through more support from ARET.
We are hopeful that the students will be able to give back to the community by helping the very project through voluntary tutor support for others. Some aim to establish private trading or business from which others will benefit. Most importantly I think I will do better as project leader by spending more time with students; this I was unable to do (this academic year) due to a family project but during my absence the tutors were always committed to being with the students.
In this project decisions are taken after consultations with tutors and taking into consideration the opinion and views of the students. The following student view and opinion was part of the inclusive decision making process within the pilot project of ARET deciding who was admitted to class and for how long.
- stage 1 classes for 3/4 years
- stage 2 classes for 3 years
- students admitted on basis of interviews, test of literacy ability and oral stories telling of circumstance and ambition
- a waiting list of students is kept and when space is available it is offered to the waiting list candidates.
Stage 1 Students are those who have never had access to any form of schooling at all.
Stage 2 Students who have had some basic education but due to circumstances have had to cease studies For this group there is a burning desire to complete at least their Primary Education.
This project will never be the perfect solution for all students. There are students who need help to meet their basic living needs. As a small charity ARET cannot do this. The demands would be too great. We can listen to problems and offer advice and advise (when appropriate) community elders. However, by providing the means to become literate we can improve their sel-esteem and chances of employment and improved employment.
The school is not for those who wish to progress academically but also for those who wish to acquire essential basic skills for trading purposes. We emphasise that they cannot be successful business people without literacy and numeracy.
Currently communication between Sierra Leone and Scotland has not been easy. We know we are accountable for the way funds are spent and have taken steps to establish our own formal organisation which has to be transparent to anyone who asks. This is now enshrined in a legal document and applies to all the projects ARET funds in Sierra Leone.
It is hoped that there will be fewer global issues which make communication difficult in the next academic year and that we will be able to send regular reports of our activities to the supporters of ARET.