Sierra Leone: Lebanese committee rehabilitates schools in Kono

By Bai Bai Sei – Following the heavy storm some two weeks back that destroyed many homes and schools in the district, an emergency meeting was immediately converged by the Deputy District Director of Education to see how best they can help in appealing to humanitarian organizations and companies to help rehabilitates these schools.

Deputy Director of Education in Kono, Tamba M.T. Komba told this press that he wrote series of letters to various non governmental organizations and companies in the district for assistance to rehabilitate the four affected schools namely KoiduGirlsSecondary School, Islamic Secondary School, UnitedMethodistGirlsSecondary School and UnitedMethodistPrimary School in Tankoro chiefdom, Kono District.

Head Teacher of the UnitedMethodistPrimary School, Mrs. Mary Yamba said that the people of Kono are in dire need of the rehabilitation of the school buildings which she said was destroyed by the heavy storm in the district. He called on non governmental organizations and companies to come on board to assistance them especially the students and pupils of the district.

She further told this press that after the disaster, they held an emergency meeting where the stakeholders appealed to all the mining companies and the non governmental organizations operating in the district to come together to rehabilitates these schools.

She however said that only the Lebanese committee in partnership with the Kono Diamond Dealers Association has taken the bold step in rehabilitating the school buildings in the district.

Principal of the Islamic Secondary School, Alhaji Mohamed A. T. Foday said the chairman of the Kono Diamond Dealers Association with some people paid a visit to their school after the incident. He said the chairman assured them that the Lebanese committee and its chairman Mr. Kassim Basma including his Association have decided to undertake the rehabilitation of the schools in the district.

He further disclosed that there were five classroom buildings for pupils in the Junior Secondary School-1 to the Junior Secondary School-3 adding that because of the disaster that took place recently they have decided to divide each of the classrooms into two classrooms. This he said was not good for any school noting that the school going children would find it difficult to pay attention to their teachers. He thanked the Lebanese committee for coming to their aid and called on other institutions to emulate their good example in the district.

In her words, the Principal of the United Methodist Girls Secondary School Mrs. Tenema Kabia explained the need for her school to have more classrooms in order to admit more pupils in the school. She added that the five classroom buildings constructed were done with the help of the Kono District Council, some local Authorities and finds derive from the school Administration account. She praised the Lebanese Committee and the diamond dealers association to kick starts the rehabilitation of the five classrooms which she said the school administration is grateful to them.

“We want to praise the Lebanese Committee for this wonder gesture in the rehabilitation of schools in the district. They have demonstrated to the people of Kono and the district as a whole that the Lebanese committee is interested in helping the educational sector in the district” she said.

Principal of the KoiduGirlSecondary School, Madam Bernadette Turay stressed on the need for her school to have more structure adding that the peacekeepers who were formally occupying her school during the war never rehabilitate a single building before they left the school. She expressed concern of her school in the area of enrolling girls noting that they have written several letters to organizations for assistance towards the school but said only UNDP responded to their call in the rehabilitation of two of their classrooms destroyed by the heavy storm in the district.

Speaking on behalf of the Diamond Dealers Association, Chairman Musa Manso Alias Konomansia said after the disaster he decided to contact the Chairman of the Lebanese committee Mr. Kassim Basma who told him to go and verify the damages caused by the storm and to report to him to see what they can do for the people of Kono.

Konomansia further disclosed that the Lebanese committee together with the Kono Diamond Dealers Association decided to rehabilitate the four school buildings and stressed the need to assist in the area of education in the district.

Mr. Kassim Basma said the Lebanese committee has given scholarships to students in the district adding that he sees Kono as his home town noting that he is always ready to help the people of Kono at all time. He appealed to the students to pay more attention to their education as they are the future leaders.

Meanwhile, a miner in Kono District Sahr Komba expressed great concern towards this great and wonderful venture by the Lebanese committee in the district adding that the people of Kono will always ready to work with them in the development of the entire district.