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HomeNewsOAKs Charity visit Sierra Leone to continue school project

OAKs Charity visit Sierra Leone to continue school project

OAKS (Overseas Aid for the Kids of Sierra Leone), was set up by Margaret Jarrette.

Margaret bought a piece of bushland in a poor area of Tikonko Chiefdom, south of Bo Town, and became determined to build a school for marginalised children. 

Other members include Nic Phipps (Trustee) and Laurel Parkinson (Associate).

The group aims to help the children of Sierra Leone through the process of education, allowing them the opportunity to make choices for their future.

During mid to late October the group flew back to Sierra Leone where Nick and Laurel conducted “extensive assessments and reports on all aspects of the schools”.

Chester and District Standard: The OAKs schoolThe OAKs school (Image: Dave Bladen)

They also led negotiations with the local education authority to secure better teacher pay support.

One of the standout achievements during the visit was the negotiation with the local health authority to continue support for the malaria anti-viral program, contributing to 96 per cent school attendance rate.

Speaking about OAKS, Dave Bladen, who works closely with the charity, said: “Laurel played a crucial role by monitoring classrooms and providing teacher training.

“Nick, the owner of a well-established building and construction firm, oversaw the development of three sports fields, investing a significant amount in the project.

“With the use of a tracked excavator, this initiative now provides the children with a much-needed sports facility, a project that’s bound to nurture future sports stars in Sierra Leone.

“Notably, this £3,500 scheme finishes the £12,000 larger scheme that started in March during their last visit, funded by a significant private donation.

“It’s a testament to the generous support and the practicality of the OAKS team’s initiatives. The result is a magnificent sports facility that is envied and highly practical for the community.”

Chester and District Standard: The OAKs schoolThe OAKs school (Image: Dave Bladen)

Another achievement was the awarding, calculation, and distribution of staff pay rises, with a  40 per cent increase since the previous September, keeping them ahead of government pay and above private schools.

As the team prepared to leave Sierra Leone, they received the external exam results for the secondary school.

For the second year in a row, all 54 pupils passed all subjects. 52 pupils achieved grade one passes in Science, and 50 in Agricultural Science.

OAKS charity are holding a night of celebration at Thornton Hall on November 25. 

The tickets will include a three-course meal, a raffle, auction and a disco. 

For more information, please contact Nick Phipps at 07876 356574.