Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year Everyone

Wishing you all a very happy new year......


We all had a wonderful time over Christmas and New Year and we thought you would like to hear what we have been up to......We have 39 girls now in the safe house, the latest Isatu came yesterday to join our happy and growing family.







We have been making christmas decorations, cooking lovely food, UK Yebe made by Jane caused quite a stir here on New Years Eve, making jewellery, playing games, balance ball and hopscotch are the current favourites, playing santa too...apparently a few girls saw Miriam & I in our magic cloaks and caps putting sweets in the baskets and presents under the tree.





jewellery making was very popular and very relaxing too.....lovely quiet time with the girls and staff.




















paper chain decorations were good for wearing too....



Santa filled the Danish baskets with sweets, a Mason family tradition.




Christmas morning, the girls were busy doing their hair and trying to keep warm......Mawah, Christiana, Miriam & Saitu are not impressed with the weather as Hamatan has arrived and rainy season is well and truly over. It is blissfully warm & sunny weather for us however the girls are freezing cold, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Everyone is wearing socks and jumpers and blankets are much needed for everyone at night.





The nativity play was delightful, Miriam directed it all fabulously and for days before and even now many days after you can hear the sweet sounds of Noel Noel and We wish you a merry Christmas through out the day and night........Here's Mary, Joseph & the donkey on their way to Bethlehem.






We have had several birthdays in December, Kofi, Isata, Jane and Kofi's chocolate spread sandwich cake went down a treat with all. New Years Eve was celebrated with style, cooking UK Yebeh (cassava stew), singing Auld Lang Syne and dancing together to see in the new Year. Isata & Jane had a cooking competition and I think the UK Yebeh won this time.........



My nest news is that my chicken has hatched 11 chicks whoohoo.......cockledoodledoo : )




We are now looking forward to the New Year and we have developed a program over the holidays to work with the girls to build upon the their strengths, encourage them to plan ahead so that they are able to achieve more in school and build their confidence and self esteem for the future.

We are also starting adult literacy classes in the village so that the parents and children can learn and grow together to build a stronger community, Maronka is already a hugely strong community, in fact I believe it is one of the strongest I have ever worked in.

Ok so the girls are starting on a plan for the new year and so is most of Maronka village and we know many of you will be too! How many of you are thinking of getting fit and being more healthy, probably even joining the gym, please please do not spend your money on gym membership we have a much more exciting way to get you back in shape for 2012.

Start training now to join us for..........A Bike Ride, yes a bike ride from Hoek Van Holland to Belgium via Amsterdam. On the 31st August, 1st & 2nd September . More details will follow later so you can join us in this fantastic fun and fundraising opportunity.


We wish all your hopes & dreams come true in 2012

Ann, Isata, Jane, Miriam and all the Maronka girls xxxx



If you ever do any online shopping, or even if you think you don't (because you might in the process find it is cheap and easy to do so) please do sign up.  We will be most appreciative and you will definitely be making a difference to our work in Sierra Leone.

http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/educaidsierraleone



Why not buy a special gift for someone this year? EducAid Calendars for 2012 are £9:99.  Please contact annbeatty@educaid.org.uk to order yours.  All monies go to EducAid.


If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young people, please go to http://www.educaid.org.uk/ and http://www.educaidsierrleone.blogspot.com/



You can keep up with the currrent news and activities at the EducAid Face Book website:

Friday, 16 December 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone







Merry Christmas from Binta, Aisha, Fatmata, Namina, Marie and all the Maronka girls xxx


Thank you all so much for supporting our project,  we wish you a joyful and peaceful Christmas and may all your dreams and hopes for 2012 come true.


Love to you all from Isata, Jane, Ann & Miriam 



Why not buy a special gift for someone this year? EducAid Calendars for 2012 are £9:99.  Please contact annbeatty@educaid.org.uk to order yours.  All monies go to EducAid.

If you ever do any online shopping, or even if you think you don't (because you might in the process find it is cheap and easy to do so) please do sign up.  We will be most appreciative and you will definitely be making a difference to our work in Sierra Leone.

http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/educaidsierraleone

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young people, please go to http://www.educaid.org.uk/ and http://www.educaidsierrleone.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Easy Fundraising



This is for all you online shoppers...... If you register online by clicking on the link below, the Easy Fundraising website will send us a cheque periodically with money that gets generated on the side of all your online purchases.

Please do.  I just did and it takes only moments.  As most of you are aware, things are difficult all across the non-profit sector at the moment.  This is not different for EducAid and recently we have had to cut into some of our core activities in order to keep our heads above water. e.g. We are looking at shortening the school day as of January as we are no longer able to feed the day students. ..... so every bit helps!

If you ever do any online shopping, or even if you think you don't (because you might in the process find it is cheap and easy to do so) please do sign up.  We will be most appreciative and you will definitely be making a difference to our work in Sierra Leone.


If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.sierraleonegirls.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 7 December 2011



Latest news from Maronka Girls 2


We have great internet access at the moment so I thought I would send you more of our news and photos while I can, 37 girls now. We have been doing some fun things like taking the children to the beach and we had our 1st EVER birthday party in Maronka village on the 17th November for Sumaila which was greatly enjoyed by all, with popcorn, prawn crackers and pineapple drink all round. As there are so many of us we have decided to celebrate all the monthly birthdays on one day each month.






Jane is our newest volunteer and came to stay with us at the girls house on Sunday. Jane has been a Lecturer in Higher Education for the past ten years where she has enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm of her young students and helping them achieve their personal and academic goals.


In her spare time Jane loves to travel and meet new people. She also loves walking the hills of Northern England and cooking for her  sons, Tom and George.

For a number of years she volunteered for a young person's drumming and dance group, enjoying playing Afro-Brazilian rhythms, singing and dancing (when nobody is looking :).

Jane is looking forward to using her experience to help the girls and young women feel strong to take steps towards a brighter future.

Diana has booked her ticket and is coming out to volunteer on the 22nd January for 3 months. If you would like to volunteer or know of anyone else who wants to volunteer from April next year, please put them in touch with us.






As many of the children stayed on site for the half term we took them to the beach, I have never seen so many happy children and so well behaved too. Most of them had never seen the sea before and they were shouting the sea is slapping us and had the most delightful day.






the children buried the teachers and Isata in the sand








then the teachers got their own back






I mentioned the challenge of the washing previously, the other challenge is 37 girls plaiting their hair on the weekend, heres my favourite before and after shot of Isatu. Isatu was selling palm wine every day, living an appalling existence and not attending school. Her parents left her with us in October and she is now doing very well. Our newest girl Mariama came to stay on Thursday from Freetown bringing the total up to 37.











Happy days


Love Ann, Isata, Miriam, Jane & the Maronka girls




Why not buy a special gift for someone this year? EducAid Calendars for 2012 are £9:99.  Please contact annbeatty@educaid.org.uk to order yours.  All monies go to EducAid.



If you ever do any online shopping, or even if you think you don't (because you might in the process find it is cheap and easy to do so) please do sign up.  We will be most appreciative and you will definitely be making a difference to our work in Sierra Leone.


http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/educaidsierraleone


If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young people, please go to http://www.educaid.org.uk/ and http://www.educaidsierrleone.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Latest News from Maronka Girls..........

Thank you to all those who have kept in touch via this blog, the Facebook page and email and who have also responded and generous purchased gifts from the wish list.

Life continues to be mad busy in Maronka with the girls. And with Miriam fundraising in the UK, I have been extra busy with all sorts of things.........delivering supplies for all the schools, managing the teacher training centre construction site, general mediator......... I am enjoying it very much but am very pleased to have Miriam back now.

The girls are happy & contented and there is a real family atmosphere in the house now as we have got to know each other. The girls have become very caring and and look out for each other and for me too. Theresa ran after me the other day as I had not strapped my sandals up and she did them up for me. We have also settled into a routine for activities and Isata has been invaluable in settling the girls into the house. There are still a few ups and downs but with 36 girls there are bound to be......


We had a great half-term break here in Maronka as 99% of the home boys and girls stayed on site so we had an eventful week keeping the children busy with a lots of activities, we had puzzles and games, computer workshops, reading & handwriting, film nights with popcorn and we did sports every afternoon.


Catherine a volunteer from Liverpool came to stay with us in Maronka during half-term and she ran computer workshops for the teachers and carried Ibrahim to sports day as he had hurt his leg falling out of a palm tree. Catherine & I cooked pumpkin stew for the teachers, apparently there was not enough pepper but they enjoyed it still and now believe that I CAN cook.


We had our first community meeting in the girls house attended by Chief Obai and others and the feedback is that the girls are doing well, they are behaving well and they take their turn in village activities such as cooking and clean ups.

We have had another new addition to Maronka Obai's daughter had a baby girl, Obai is a very proud grandfather and we girls have another baby to cuddle.




Life in the UK is not so good and the economic crisis is affecting funding of EducAid so we are finding it really hard to meet the day to day running costs as the cost of living rises in Sierra Leone and while costs rise the income is not keeping up.

Although Miriam has been fundraising in the UK we are still in need of as much support as we can get. If you are in a position to increase your regular giving, start a regular donation, please do think about doing so - the forms are attached.  If you know a school, a club, a church, an organisation or institution that might be willing to fundraise for EducAid or make a donation, please do put us in touch with each other.

There is of course suffering in the UK because of the financial difficulties everywhere but if it is true in the UK, it is even more true in Sierra Leone.  If we do not invest in these youngsters now, they will only be more of a load on society in the future and we all lose out.

We promise that all help that is given will be used well to help some of the most vulnerable young people in the world.


Thank you in advance for all your generosity.

Why not buy a special gift for someone this year? EducAid Calendars for 2012 are £9:99.  Please contact annbeatty@educaid.org.uk to order yours.  All monies go to EducAid.


If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young people, please go to http://www.educaid.org.uk/ and http://www.educaidsierrleone.blogspot.com/



Life is good in Maronka and we're still excited!

Diana Mears spent a week with us and has just returned to the UK. She was very impressed with our work and is coming back in January for 3 months to volunteer. Diana enjoyed reading with the little ones and we worked together with some of the teachers on the Hummingbirds, Sparrow and Kingfishers class assembly in which the children sang a selection of songs with great enthusiasm and very confidently. We are already working on some new songs and we all miss you Diana...hurry back!



Diana also helped us sew our mosquito netting into curtains for the verandah and sleeping areas. It was wonderful when baby Mohammed Obai came to visit (isn't he gorgeous) and us girls took time out for cuddles...





...whilst the men got on with hanging up the curtains.



Life is busy here with the girls and every day is different, teaching them life skills like teethbrushing and basic values, like I must not beat my friend. The girls have agreed their own rules for the house and supporting them to stick to their rules is a 24 hour job for us.
We are loving every minute of the challenge and one of our biggest at the moment (as we mentioned last time) is THE WASHING! This is a special challenge in itself and its still growing especially as the planet still thinks its rainy season here some days and we cannot get it dry.


We saw on facebook the other day that many people have started their Christmas shopping and some have even finished it...amazing but seemingly true! It got us thinking that we should get some stockings together for the girls and we thought we would ask our wonderful supporters to help us by purchasing a small item off our Amazon wishlist.

If you would like to send a gift, all you have to do is click on the Amazon link http://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/8SU8SDVN5IDO  (and the link is also to the left of this page). Just choose your gift, pop it in your basket, pay and it will be automatically posted to us! How easy is that?...but please do this before 10th November to ensure it reaches the girls for 25th December. As a big thank you we promise to send you all photos of Christmas Day excitement in the girls house.

And if you are struggling to find the perfect gift we can also help you! We have EducAid Calendars featuring our beautiful students who put on their biggest and cheesiest smiles just for you and your friends to share all year round.  At Only £ 9.99 they are a bargain present and helping a child as £10 covers the monthly cost of 1 child at Educaid.
If you would like 1 or 2 or 3 please email me at btwoman@hotmail.co.uk


p.s The girls are loving their teddies, they go everywhere with them.




If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young people, please go to http://www.educaid.org.uk/ and http://www.educaidsierrleone.blogspot.com/

Monday, 17 October 2011

Girls House Opening 1st October 2011

The girls house opened successfully on Saturday, 1st October, with much ceremony, noise and palm wine. The girls looked beautiful in their dresses and sang and acted with great confidence. It was a great day.









The celebrations started the night before with the men taking up position outside the house with their percussion instruments and the palm wine was flowing. The women and children joined the party and the drumming, singing and dancing carried on into the night.

The chief, Obai, and his sister Zainab did the honours of cutting the ribbon and blessing and opening the house.






We currently have 33 girls, ranging in age from 4 to 14 years. We lost 3 girls, last week, who went off to the Women's Project and the beginnings of secondary school, resulting in lots of tears all round on the morning of departure.

Life in Maronka is very in your face.  Following the opening we had to attend Obai's father-in-law's funeral the next day. A few days later, Yenken gave birth to a baby boy and myself and Miriam were holding the baby within seconds of Mohammed Obai being born. It was just in time really as Yenken had asked Miriam for a lift to the hospital and Mohammed could have been born in the vehicle. I am not sure Miriam would have enjoyed that at all, so it all worked out right in the end and Yenken and Mohammed are well.

The girls are busy telling myself and Isata their life stories and some are so tragic. There is hope now for all these girls, though, they have a chance to develop their confidence, self esteem, values and education and they are part of a family that will share love and care for each other

Story time for 13 little girls is very different from reading a bedtime story to 1 or 2. I always seem to hype them up not relax them ready for sleeping. The other night I was bundled by them all with hugs and kisses, they nearly strangled me.

Washing at the weekend is a major feat, 33 pairs of knickers times 7 days a week is more than enough washing, let alone all the rest............more washing lines are definitely needed.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young people, please go to http://www.educaid.org.uk/ and http://www.educaidsierrleone.blogspot.com/

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Nearly there - the excitement is building

The girls are excited.  The chief and his family are proud.  Invitations are out.  Ann is covered in whitewash and we are in the count down stages to opening day.
Getting there slowly!  Welders finished and plastering left to complete.
Plastering the outside.
The news of Maronka's excellence and the community's hospitality is spreading and the numbers add daily.  The addition of the Girls' house has accelerated the problem (even if too many children is a good problem to have!)

Ann surveying her paintwork and the new bunk beds.
The plan is to open the Girls' House on Saturday, 1st October and to move the girls in during the preceding week.  A few sheet sleeping bags to sew yet but it is looking good.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young people, please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.educaidsierrleone.blogspot.com

Saturday, 10 September 2011

A chance encounter with the Sierra Leone's First Lady


Monday - all ready for her transfer next week to her new home

'She wants you to go now.  You have to stop and go now.'  The State House Security, Alhassan's old play mates and now EducAid's loyal protectors at Lungi airport had spoken to the first lady's body guard and I had got the opportunity to put in a good word for EducAid.... NOW!


Not feeling particularly appropriately dressed for the occasion, in shorts, T-shirt and flip flops and sweaty and dirty  from packing piles of boxes that had just arrived for EducAid, I was ushered in to the presence of Mrs Sia Koroma, the Sierra Leone's First Lady.

Very gracious, she overlooked my appearance, thanked me for speaking Krio and promised to visit us in Maronka as soon as she gets the opportunity.


It would be wonderful for EducAid if she follows through.  The First Lady has a great reputation for pushing for greater rights for girls and their education.  We sincerely hope that we get the opportunity to show her EducAid's contribution to the same battle.



If you want to know more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.educaidsierraleone.blogspot.com

I wish I was a girl!

Alhaji Mansaray is a lovely, kind man
who welcomes the various children that arrive in Maronka
 and is key to the success of the developments that take place there.
'I wish I was a girl,' says Alhaji, the chief's brother, when he sees me unpacking nice things for the Girls' House in Maronka.  And indeed, there is some lovely stuff - various friends have donated pretty solar lights, pretty knickers, some lovely books, material for little sheet sleeping bags, nice soaps and stationery and so on and so on.

'Everything is for the girls now,' he says.

'We are trying to reduce the gap that has existed for centuries and generations,' I say.

We spend a few minutes talking about the comparison between men and women in Sierra Leonean society, how from the day they are born, girls are on the back foot and suddenly the light dawns......

'You see that man over there,' he points.  'When his wife had a baby girl the other day, he refused to see her.  He says that his wife can keep her.  He says he will wait until she has a boy.'

'What do you think it is like for a girl to be brought up from day one, knowing that she is a disappointment and not wanted?'

'I think I understand,' says Alhaji.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.educaidsierraleone.blogspot.com

Some of the little ones who will be joining us in the Safe House

Some of the little ones who will be joining us in the Safe House, just as soon as we get the bunk beds sorted and the sheet sleeping bags sewn! (I think those are the key bits left to do now : ) apart from the serious unpacking that still needs doing! )
The little Miss Giggles, Linda and Binta.
Aminata puzzling it out on her own.
Every day new kids rock up from across the Northern and Western areas of Sierra Leone.

Aminata and Fatmata getting into the reading habit.
If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.educaidsierraleone.blogspot.com



Ann's first few days


One hot Ann sorting 'stuff'.

I arrived in Sierra Leone after an uneventful and peaceful journey with Kofi and 40 boxes of supplies provided by friends and supporters!

We got to Maronka at about 1 a.m. and the welders were still working on the house, so after checking out the work in progress it was decided I should sleep in the school for all the usual health & safety reasons. I can report however that things are going well and my room is now complete.

Isata working with Ann on unpacking boxes.
In the morning, after drinking water from the well that many of you contributed to, I met my deputy Isata. I also met some of the girls who will be staying with us, attended a staff meeting at the school and met most of the villagers before departing again for Freetown to pick up supplies.

I have some adapting to do..... an enormous spider in my bedroom this morning was kindly taken out by Moses; it’s an hour’s walk to the nearest village to get supplies; it's hot & humid as its the end of rainy season, and for those of you who know me well will know I rarely drink cold drinks or have ice, well I really could do with some now................

Other than those few little concerns I love waking up to silence, then birds and then children laughing and chatting ready for school. The view from the house is green and beautiful. Tonight I went to watch the children dance, after a hard week studying they were dancing for hours and I have never seen so many happy children dancing with joy and abandon, so beautiful to see.

Welding work well on its way.
I have been busy meeting all the girls who will come and stay with us in the house and listening to some of their stories which are heartbreaking. I have had to get my head round stories of terrible abuse, female circumcision, abandonment to list just a few e.g. one girl who lives with her aunt sent a message to us at the school asking us to intervene and get her released from her chores to come to school.  Her aunt had her selling palm wine and refused to let her come back for the new term.  
Another little lad pleaded to come and live in the school because his parents had both died and he was living on his own.  After a few enquiries, it turns out that his mother is indeed dead but that his father has just disappeared since the mother died and left him and his sister alone - some neighbours were keeping an eye out for them but have few resources themselves.
......and so on and so on.....

So we are hoping to make life a little easier for the girls and provide some stability and love for as long as we can. We have 2 volunteers signed up to join us in December and January so if you know of anyone else who would be interested from March 2012, please do get in touch.

I would like to thank everyone for their support for the girls and myself, especially in the last few weeks before my departure to SL. Myself, Miriam and Isata will send you our news and updates as and when we have access to the internet.

Thank you to so many for so many different contributions: 52 dresses, 30 scrapbooks, Maria for Jewellery lessons and materials, Hayley for her patience and much needed shopping skills, Vanessa, Helena and Ann B for their patience accepting, storing and delivering parcels. Several box seats sponsored, numerous donations, so many gifts bought from the Amazon wishlist and so on.....

Once we have had time to think, we will update the Amazon wishlist so that people can continue to send gifts or pass on the list to others if they wish. Although this has been a huge success, we are mindful that many of you have items in your homes which you would normally donate to charity and we would request that if you have you, think of us first and foremost as I have to say that looking around I am saddened that there is still so much poverty in Sierra Leone today, despite much progress in some areas.
Big Love
Ann

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.sierraleonegirls.blogspot.com

Monday, 22 August 2011

Successful Fundraising Get Together Friday 12th August

After 2 days of hard graft integrating all our ideas for the project and catching up with each others' developments, we had the best BBQ: apple and blackberry cake and chocolate cherries are the best!! We had a variety of weird and wonderful meats, venison, bison and ostrich, not just sweeties


The sun was shining until late into the evening and the Caipoeira demonstrations held us in awe, courtesy of the boys; Kofi, Kaylem and Kharmani and of course Sienna who was determined to get involved.




Seriously though, what we had was the opportunity to meet like minded people who want to support the Maronka Girls' Safe House and the ideas were flowing on Friday evening. Despite the recent riots with people looting portrayed in the media, there are still loads of giving and kind hearted people here who shared their ideas with us and offered support for the project.



In December we have Jane coming out to share her skills and experience with us and Rebecca will be joining Educaid to carry out training for some staff and senior students;


We have over 50 new dresses sewn for our girls;


Several people have offered to speak to their organisations, churches and local communities about our project to gain support;

The Amazon wishlist has had over 80 items purchased since Friday;

Many people have sponsored a starter kit and box-seat; 

Several offers of sponsorship for students;

A potential fundraiser from December 2011;

Everyone offered to go out and spread the word about the Maronka Girls' Safe House and to support us where possible.

We have produced a powerpoint presentation and a selection of fundraising materials to promote this project, if you would like a copy or you know someone who would be interested in supporting the project through volunteering, sponsorship or you have ideas to support us please get in touch.

Ann & Miriam

If you would like to sponsor a box-seat and starter kit: box, toiletries, stationery, cup, mug, spoon, etc - please donate £40 using the details on the donate page on the educaid website or use the charity choice button at the side of this post.  It is all about making each little girl, resident in the home, feel special and valued as an individual.


If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.educaidsierraleone.blogspot.com

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Ann Beatty: getting ready to go to Maronka - this time for a little longer......

Ann Beatty - Girls' Safe House Project Leader
In 2007 I was lucky enough to take a sabbatical from my work and I spent a month in Sierra Leone, teaching at the Rolal school, through Miriam and EducAid. Standing up to teach English in front of 50+ children was not the easiest but it was the most satisfying thing I had done in a very long time. 

I also gained a good insight into the country through the pupils at the Freetown school who guided us through different places, Kroo Bay, Congo town, Moa Wharf and other deprived areas of Freetown.  We had the opportunity to visit other charities and see their work and without saying anything detrimental about the other charities we visited in Sierra Leone I believe EducAid is having the most impact by far on peoples’ lives. All the money donated goes to the project on the ground. They provide 100% free education in 5 schools in Freetown and the provinces.
  
When we returned to the UK, Rudolph and I decided to set up a charity HOPE - Helping other people’s education and to fundraise to build a well in Maronka; the children were walking many miles and many hours each day to get water for the village. The well cost £3000, and we raised that in under 6 months. We are also sponsoring a young man to train as a doctor.  The money it takes to sponsor this man each year is less than most of us spend on Christmas presents each year and I find that incredible that I can help someone to attain his / her dream so easily.

It seems a cliché maybe but once I returned from Sierra Leone life was not the same for me and although I have a beautiful family, lots of friends, a great job, lovely home etc etc to keep me busy, I was not satisfied and I had a desire to live my life differently.

Although I did not know what I wanted to do with my future I decided to take a year out to travel, (my other passion) so I left my job after 23 years working in social housing and put my worldly possessions in storage and embarked on travelling here and there and I had a great time gadding about.

I planned to go to South America in September this year and in April whilst I was making the most of my free time visiting Cornwall I got chatting to Miriam and she told me about this fantastic idea she had of setting up the safe house in Maronka and asked me if I would like to come out and set it up.  Miriam has a great sales pitch and she convinced me it would be better than bumming about sipping cocktails in South America for 6 months and to her surprise I agreed with her so that's my story and now the future is about the girls..............

I know this project will have a huge impact on these young girls’ lives and it fits in nicely with my other passion of mentoring and coaching people to attain the best they can in this lifetime.  I believe I can make a difference in terms of building the girls’ self esteem, giving them love, education and a passion for learning and living the best life they can and as much as I have to offer in terms of skills and experience I know that I have lots to gain from this too! 

If you know anyone who would like to support this project in terms of volunteering, funding or any other idea you my have please get in touch.............

Ann x

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.educaidsierraleone.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Maronka Girls Amazon Wishlist

It's less than 3 weeks until I head out to Sierra Leone on 4th September so if you were thinking about purchasing an item you better be quick and click on the amazon wishlist 
The wishlist enables our supporters to purchase items for the girls safe house so please pass this onto friends and colleagues who may want to support us. 

Items range from £1.99 up to £50 so please do purchase something if you can as every little helps to make the safe house a comfortable and learning environment for the girls.

To everyone who has purchased items already Thank you so much, I have just packed up another parcel today of books to come with me on the 4th September, stay tuned for regular updates over the coming months.

Thank you again for all your support, this dream has become a reality thanks to your kind generosity, if you know anyone who might want to support us by volunteering, sponsorship or in ways that we haven't yet thought of please pass your thoughts and ideas to us.

Ann x

If you would like to sponsor a box-seat and starter kit: box, toiletries, stationery, cup, mug, spoon, etc - please donate £40 using the details on the donate page on the educaid website or use the charity choice button at the side of this post.  It is all about making each little girl, resident in the home, feel special and valued as an individual.


If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to http://www.educaid.org.uk/ and http://www.educaidsierraleone.blogspot.com/

Friday, 12 August 2011

Ann is organising her support team


Ann Beatty creating order out of the chaos of my flat, is making packs of information and fund-raising ideas for our get together this evening.  Assorted dynamic women are assembling at 20 Craster Road to share ideas about how to support the Girls' House and keep it sustainable.

The packs are nearly ready and the bbq and chilli are all but ready.  The chocolate cherries are in the fridge and the wine is ready for uncorking.

Let's hope the ideas are flowing too.

If you want to know more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, go to www.educaid.org and www.educaidsierraleone.blogspot.com

Sunday, 24 July 2011

30 box-seats - tick; roof - nearly tick!

30 box-seats for the new residents of the girls' house.
Each girl will have her own box where she can keep her own special, personal, private  stuff - a rare privilege for most of our youngsters in their overcrowded houses.
The roof is 3/4 finished.  We should be ready for our 10th September deadline.
The preparations for the opening of the Girls' Safe House on 10th September are well underway.  Materials gathering in garages across the UK.  Ann has her ticket.  The roof is nearly on and the electrics will soon be sorted too.  Numerous items from the wishlist have been bought to make the home a real home.  30 box-seats for the new residents have been made.  Stacks of knickers have been bought.  Dresses have been sewn.  The welder is all lined up to fit railings, doors and windows. And so it goes on....

The girls are on holiday at the moment but the excitement is growing as everything slips into position.....

If you would like to sponsor a box-seat and starter kit: box, toiletries, stationery, cup, mug, spoon, etc - please donate £40 using the details on the donate page on the educaid website or use the charity choice button at the side of this post.  It is all about making each little girl, resident in the home, feel special and valued as an individual.


If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.educaidsierraleone.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Box-seats under construction



The idea is to give each of the girls who are resident in the safe house, their own special place to keep stuff.  Generally, if they have had a plastic bag to keep things in, they are amongst the lucky ones. In fact even having their own possessions is quite a rarity for too many of them.  

In her box, each girl will have her own toiletries, stationery, cup, plate, spoon and so on and all her special personal things that only she needs to know about. Personal space and personal property might be rights we take for granted in the west, for our children as much as for ourselves but, for most of the children we work with in Sierra Leone, no such assumptions can be made.

The boxes will serve as little seats for story time and the likes too.  

Hopefully, all furniture in the house will be simple but attractive creating an environment where our little residents can feel special and safe.

One box and its starter kit content will cost £40.  If you are interested in sponsoring one, please visit the donate page of the EducAid website or by using the Charity Choice button at the side of this post.  When making a donation to the Girls' House please email james@educaid.org.uk to tell him you have done so, in order to facilitate our tracking of donations.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young people, please go to www.educaid.org.uk and www.educaidsierraleone.blogspot.com