By Moses Kay Fembeh
On Saturday 24th September 2022, three hundred pupils of Fountain of Hope Primary School, at Looking Town received unforgettable support from the Missionary Friends Association. The aforementioned association is a Catholic Organisation coordinated by Father Patrick Bukari
The proprietress of the school, Madam Mary Mangay expressed her profound and sincere appreciation to Father Patrick Bukari and the association for their commitment and dedication to the progress of the school. She told parents of the school to at all costs and by all means, be grateful and see themselves as blessed parents. She went on to say that it is not good for parents to move their children or wards from school to school just because such a child failed to be promoted and the parent does not want her child or ward to repeat. “I am persuaded that the 300 pupils of our school will continue to benefit from the school through the help of God and the association”, she affirmed.
However, Father Patrick Bukari who is the resident coordinator of the organisation briefly talked about the importance of education to the dozens of parents, well-wishers, the representative of the member of Constituency 117 in the Western Urban Direct, and other distinguished personalities at the handing over ceremony of the uniforms, school bags, dozens of books, pencils, erasers, geometrical sets and many other useful stationery to the pupils. Noting, that he is happy with President Bio’s implementation of the Free Quality Education and as missionaries, they will continue giving their usually support through which they have helped over 2000 youths and students nationwide. “These kids are ours, this is how most of us started, we passed through other people to reach where we are today. As I speak now, I will be going to Kono next week to offer similar help that we have done here today. We have used 120 million old Leones to support the 300 pupils in purchasing the learning materials provided” he opinionated. Going further, he gave a brief background of the association as a Catholic missionary organisation founded in 1997 by Congregation Sisters of St. Joseph in Freetown with the sole aim of helping the war victims and children who extremely suffered during the eleven-year civil war. Since then, the Missionaries Friends Association has been consistently giving support to underprivileged children and deprived communities across the country.
Madam Naomi W. Jones, the headteacher of Fountain of Hope School said that she felt excited to have received such a huge donation from the Missionary Friends Association on behalf of the school and parents through the all-time committed friend and Coordinator Fr. Patrick Bukari who has always stood by them and she said as a deprived community, she understands the plight of her parents and pupils as some of the pupils goes to school with little or no food to eat in the morning, some are sometimes helped by their fellow pupils. ” I am grateful to the Association and the sister organization, Cooperation International and I am persuaded that our parents of the school will handle the items that will be received on behalf of their kids with care and this will also reduce the burden on them as some of them have been finding it difficult to purchase school bags and learning materials since the reopening of schools on 5th September 2022,” she said.
Notwithstanding, she pleaded with the Ministry of Lands to grant them the necessary documents which will permit them to fence around the school and called on humanitarian organisations to help them with the fencing of their school to stop the community people from filling the school environment with garbage, harmful dirt and other stuff that makes the school community unsafe and unhygienic for their children and teachers as well. She further attested that on several occasions thieves have been attempting to break the windows to access their offices to steal valuable school materials.
On behalf of the Honourable Member of Parliament, Haja Samura, of Constituency 117 in the sub-community of Looking Town, Alpha U. Kamara said that his Boss the Honourable Member of Parliament has been doing the same for people in her Constituency, which recent one was the distribution of school materials in certain schools within the constituency, on the 27th August this year and however applauded the Association and Fr. Patrick for the selfless sacrifices.
The Community Chief, Pa. Alimamy Sesay II’s heart was filled with joy, as he said that he would remember when the school started some twenty years ago as mud blocks and with double shifts for learners. He commended Madam Mary Mangay, the headteacher Madam Naomi W. Jones and their staff for soaring the school to higher heights and thanked the parents for sending their kids to the school.
Mr. Lansana who is a Lecturer at Freetown Polytechnic, formerly, Freetown Teachers ‘ college did the same by applauding the Association for its resilience in making sure that less privileged kids in communities like Looking Town are considered for such an opportunity. “Parents, to tell you the truth, you are lucky. There are communities in Freetown and other places that want this opportunity which you have at your disposal. Cherish it, value it, respect it, with all your might and power to maintain this opportunity by being committed to your kids’ affairs and the school authority,” he said.
Mr. Joseph Polynus Thomas, on behalf of her fellow parents of the school, applauded Father Patrick Bukari and the missionary friends for their selfless sacrifices made in providing such an opportunity for their community and other communities in Freetown and the provinces. “We are grateful sir, we have rich men in this country that are capable of doing the same but they will not because of one reason or the other. It takes a sacrificial heart to do so. With this help, I together with my fellow parents and our children, say a countless thankful,” he remarked.
Mr. Abu Bakarr S. Lombie, a teacher who represented his wife on behalf of the Teaching Service Commission said that parents must encourage their kids to be educated and this will help them to become better business people. They will not be on the streets but in bigger shops managing large businesses in the country. “I started my career as a poor teacher at the time when my wife Gloria was selling in the market and she would be tempted to take our daughter to the market and I would say to her that by all means, our daughter should go to school and today she is in the final year of her university course.” he proudly said.
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