A school for Rofutha, Masimera Chiefdom, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is one of Africa's recovering nations. A brutal civil war devastated the entire country, exposing 90% of the population to horror and death. Presently Sierra Leoneans are attempting to rebuild their shattered infrastructure and battered economy. It is always the case that children are the most vulnerable victims of armed conflicts and health pandemic. Last fall UNICEF reported that Sierra Leone holds the unflattering distinction of the country with the world’s highest Child Mortality Rate – nearly 3 out of 10 children do not live to see age 5, almost 2 out of 10 women die in childbirth, and life expectancy averages only about 37 years.

From 2002-2005, peace returned to the country with the help of the United Nations, Great Britain and The United States. The educational system was dealt an especially harsh blow during the war.  Only about 13% of the Country's classrooms were usable, and today only about 55% of the children can attend school. In the Port Loko District, where Rofutha is located, 172 of its 361 schools were completely destroyed in the war and 100 extensively damaged. Last year, only 10 schools in the Masimera Chiefdom were scheduled for construction by the government, and Rofutha was not among them. The community needs our help. The healing of the next generation and the prevention of future violent conflicts will be directly linked to rebuilding the education system within Sierra Leone as a whole.

A cross section of the Rofuntha community                                                                                           Rev Elmer Macauley: Viewing the potential

Entrance of the Partners
Partners for Education in Sierra Leone is a group of volunteers inspired to assist the post-conflict children in Sierra Leone, West Africa with their recovery from the 11-year civil war. They aspire towards a dual mission: To improve children's access to quality education in underserved regions of Sierra Leone; and, to educate the American public about the needs of post-conflict African countries through educational fundraising efforts. Partners for Education in Sierra Leone believes in  participatory, community-based social action to build and improve educational facilities; strengthen healthy childhood development; promoting educational equality, literacy, numeracy and peace education; and assist children and families to heal from the debilitating effects of war. "We consult and support while our African partners lead".

Kelly Bidwell, and  Pamela J. Goss-Power, Co-Directors articulate their passion:

Our organization originated in March 2004 as a small group of volunteers who were invited to Sierra Leone to help evaluate the existing trauma in children following the war. Because of the need to expand and formalize our mission and services, we incorporated in May 2006 as a non-profit organization. Over the last year we have engaged in our first large educational undertaking, the Rofutha Primary School Building Project. Thanks to the committed collaboration among the community of Rofutha in Masimera Chiefdom, Reverend Elmer Macaulay of Bethlehem Ministries Mission (House of Bread), Key Club International, the First Church of Christ Congregational North Conway, NH, and students from US public elementary and secondary schools, initial construction has begun. More than 300 war-affected children will start to benefit from our building the Rofutha Primary School.

What the school would look like

Our Collaborations in Action
Pastor Elmer is a Sierra Leonean minister who lives in Freetown. His deep commitment to bringing hope to this poor community is evidenced by his traveling to the provinces several hours by public transportation, often walking the final 12 miles. This Chiefdom has 366 villages. With an illiteracy rate exceeding 90%, Masimera is considered one of the least educated and under-developed chiefdoms in all of Sierra Leone. Not a single secondary school exists in the entire chiefdom. For more than 10 years Pastor Elmer has dreamed of building a primary school for Rofutha’s  community. We affectionately refer to the school as “Pastor Elmer’s School.”

In April 2005 Rofutha community presented Pastor Elmer with a gift of 8.2 acres of land upon which to build a school. Our immediate goal is to build a critically needed 6-classroom primary school, Grades 1 through 6. All donations go directly to building the school under the direction of Rev. Macaulay and the school’s Sierra Leonean Oversight Committee in collaboration with the US Team. In June 2005, in honor of the Day of the African Child, 40 banana trees were planted on school land to launch the school’s agricultural and nutrition program. A school library is planned, and students at George Washington University have volunteered to send library books. Books in English, Language Arts, Math, Science, and Health were recently donated by the American International School of Freetown. A new well will be dug on site to give the children access to safe, clean drinking water. Once the school facility is built,  academic standards will be further strengthened. Child trauma interventions will assist the students' healing, and teacher trainings will be provided in Peace and Conflict Resolution to assist with the prevention of future violent conflicts at home, in school, in the community, and nationwide.

The Rofutha Primary School was recently recognized as a private school by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Freetown with hopes of obtaining public funding after three years. The community’s eventual plans include building a solar electric system to provide electric lights, pump water to the school, and establish a school microenterprise; teacher housing as an incentive to attract highly trained, qualified teachers to this remote location; and eventually a secondary school in Rofutha, the very first ever in the Masimera Chiefdom.

Your Help
Join Us in Running with the Vision
The vision and strategy are great but the funds are extremely low. We need your generous input to accomplish our goals. The Rofutha Primary School Building Project offers an opportunity to make a dramatic difference in healing the lives of young children and youth in an especially hard-hit, poor community. Please become a part of a connected and caring Global Community by joining with Partners for Education in Sierra Leone and Bethlehem Ministries Mission (House of Bread) to educate underserved children in Sierra Leone.

No donation is too small, yet please remember the greater the donation, the sooner the accomplishment. This is fertile ground to sow your best seed!

Meet the Partners

Pastor Elmer Macaulay and the two Co-Directors of "Partners for Education in Sierra Leone" -- Kelly Bidwell is a graduate student at Columbia University and Dr. Pamela Goss-Power is a Child and Family Clinical Psychologist

We are available for public, private, and school presentations.

Kelly Bidwell, BA             Pamela J. Goss-Power, PsyD
Co-Director                      Co-Director
(413) 348-7376                (802) 333-9208

Photos courtesy of Kelly Bidwell