Mamaka Primary School Project, 2008

The Mamaka School was once the sturdiest building in the village of Mamaka in the Tonkolili district.  It served as a two room school for more than 300 children ages 4 to 12 for nine surrounding villages.  Because of the tremendous rains that Sierra Leone endures from May to November, the school also served as the town hall.

Town meetings were held there, as well as weddings, other celebrations and large community gatherings.  As the sturdiest building it was a stronghold for the RUF during the civil war in Sierra Leone.  During heavy fighting, the school was destroyed. 

Since the destruction of the school, all 300 children were attending school in two makeshift bamboo shelters.  Although these resilient students were eager to get back to their studies, thatched roofs do not withstand the yearly rainy season and school constantly had to be put on hold.

The Mamaka Village elders, parents and teachers had formed their own association, the Mamaka Community Development Association (MCDA), to begin the rebuilding process and reached out to Albert Kamara (President, SLVP) to raise support and money in the United States for the project.  We initially raised $4,000 for the school, and in February of 2007 Albert went to Mamaka to oversee the rebuilding process. 

With the money that we raised, the village was able to purchase the supplies it needed to raze the ruins of the old school, lay the foundation for the new school and make cement bricks for its sturdy walls.  After several fundraisers and a few more trips to Mamaka Village we were able to provide the community with the zinc (aluminum roofing), open air window frames and paint to complete the school.

The New Mamaka School has nine rooms so that grade levels can be separated and children can learn at a faster pace.  The roof provides year round shelter, and a covered porch allows the town to hold meetings and celebrations out of the rain.  The school also has a library that is stocked with donated books, and each classroom has a chalkboard (without holes).

The Development Association of Mamaka also asked us for help obtaining new latrines and furniture for the school.  We put them in touch with a program run by the U.S. Embassy in Freetown that evaluates need in villages and provides grants for such purposes.  We are happy to report that Mamaka Village has a new sense of empowerment.  They’ve applied for a furniture grant from the Embassy and partnered with another non-profit that specializes in latrines for assistance in building them.

We would like to thank everyone who has helped the Village of Mamaka help themselves in providing their children with a brighter future. 

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