On the evening of Wednesday 20 February, the Acting British High Commissioner, Ms Lesley Beaton, hosted a reception at the High Commissioner’s Residence to formally present Miriam Mason-Sesay with the MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) that she had been awarded in the most recent New Year Honours List. This award was in recognition of Miriam’s outstanding contribution in the fields of education and charitable work in Sierra Leone.
The Diplomatic Service and Overseas New Year 2013 Honours lists awards to British people doing outstanding work for the UK internationally. The List has 99 awards in a range of fields such as for peace and security, stabilisation and development, education, science, British business and community/voluntary work plus exceptional contributions to London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The evening included a presentation from Miriam outlining the current work of EducAid and how it has developed since it began in 2000 and a statement from one of the governors, Emmanuel Gaima, on the challenges EducAid currently faces in delivering its ambitious agenda for the development of education in Sierra Leone. There were also contributions from some of the real EducAid success stories:
· former pupils who had trained as teachers and were now working in EducAid schools giving back and inspiring the next generation;
· current primary school pupils who made impassioned pleas to the assembled audience asking for support from key players in the Government of Sierra Leone in taking forward a range of initiatives for the benefit of the young people of the country;
· a wonderful song highlighting the empowerment and capacity of the girls currently resident in the EducAid safe house.
After receiving her award, Mrs Mason-Sesay said:
At EducAid, we passionately believe in the power of education to destroy poverty.
The hunger for education amongst the country's poorest youngsters is what first motivated us to start our programmes. It is still what keeps us excited and hopeful for a strong Sierra Leone with an educated population able to participate in moving the country forward and upwards. EducAid is a growing family and we look forward to having an impact on more and more young people's lives. Sierra Leone is a wonderful place to work and the young people who we work with are inspiring. It is great to have our work recognised by the Queen and the opportunity to thank all those who have worked with us over the years. Together through education amazing things can be done. There is plenty of work to be done but we are ready for the challenge.
Following the event, the Acting High Commissioner said:
“I am absolutely delighted to have been able to provide a venue for such a unique event. Award recipients usually opt to travel to the UK to receive their honour at Buckingham Palace. It is testament to Miriam’s commitment both to EducAid and to the future of Sierra Leone that she chose to receive her award surrounded by those who have been instrumental in the success of EducAid as it has developed. I know that Miriam and the team have a number of ideas on how best to increase access to education for all. Many of these will require the support of the Government of Sierra Leone and I look forward to working with EducAid in pursuit of their goals in this area.”
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Its time for change worldwide and small small steps make big big change, keep supporting our girls and girls worldwide ; )