Gofor Primary School, 2010

Gofor is a small village located in the southern Kenema District. The original Gofor School was destroyed by a catastrophic storm, similar to a hurricane. 

It was brought to our attention by Sheku Kamara, a man who’s been close friends with our Board Member Jim O’Donnell since they met 30 years ago when Jim was in the Peace Corps.  Sheku grew up in Mattru Jong where Ishmael Beah author of, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, began his harrowing journey.  He now owns a chicken and pig farm in Gofor, and while he struggles to put his 5 children through college, he is much more fortunate than most of the rest of the people in this village.  He’s embraced this opportunity to help this community’s children.

Because the original school was leveled, the village is relocating the site of the new school to a more secure location.  When we went to visit Gofor and do a final site inspection before approving their application for funds in 2009, they’d already cleared a large plot of land the size of 2 football fields…by hand.  Some of it was still smoldering.

As soon as word spread that we’d arrived at the village, we were joined by nearly everyone.  This quickly escalated into an amazing impromptu thank you parade performed with the nearest available percussion instruments—shovels and machetes that the villagers had been using to clear the land.

The project was approved, thanks to the tireless work of Sheku and the 300+ children of Gofor who will no longer have to walk miles to attend school in a faraway village once theirs is reconstructed.  Using local materials and volunteer work from the villagers, SLVP will be able to complete their school and latrines for less than $20,000.

We returned to Gofor in February of 2010. The walls were already up and the villagers were hoping to place the roof on before the rains pick up in April.  We are happy to report that we were able to wire them the necessary funds and the roof construction is now complete. 

An official opening day is planned for September 2011 in time for the start of school!  We would like to thank everyone who has helped the Village of Gofor help themselves in providing their children with a brighter future.

Parade with Singing, Machetes and Shovels


The video to the right was taken on our first visit to Gofor village.  This is the spectacular parade that was improvised by the community to welcome us.  Along with traditional singing, the villagers, who had just been clearing the land for their new school, used the only available percussion instruments, machetes and shovels to create unique music.

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