February 26, 2018 By Hassan Gbessay Koroma
The Japanese Embassy in Ghana, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects (GGHSP) scheme, last Saturday, February 24th, signed an implementation deal with Street Child-Sierra Leone Foundation for the construction of additional structures at the St Paul Primary School in Regent and Mohamed Jondy Islamic Junior Secondary School Waterloo.
The US$79,402 project includes construction of three classrooms and provision of school furniture. Speaking during the ceremony at the Street Child office, Congo Cross in Freetown, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana and Sierra Leone, H.E. Tsutomu Himeno, described the ceremony as a very important event for education in the two beneficiary communities, hence he traveled from Ghana to Sierra Leone just to be part of the process. He said the Japanese Government and people care about Sierra Leoneans, which is why they always answer to calls of the government of Sierra Leone whenever there was need.
He noted that they made several donations during the outbreak of Ebola in 2015 and the mudslide and flood disasters in 2017.
He said they named the project Grass-roots Human Security because they were aware that for every country to develop it needs to build its human resource capacity, and that education and health was very important for children, who are the future. He disclosed that they received several applications from organisations within the country and from other countries in Africa for the said project, but that Street Child emerged as the winner.
He called on the recipient organisation to ensure the project was properly implemented.
In his response, Country Director for Street Child-Sierra Leone, Kelfa Kargbo, thanked the Japan entourage, noting that he was humbled to have won the project among many applicants.
He recalled that some eight years ago they started Street Child Foundation in Makeni and Lunsar, in northern Sierra Leone, with a budget of just 100,000 Pounds Sterling, adding that they could now boast of being one of the fastest growing non-governmental organisations in the country, with a budget of about two million Pounds Sterling.
He applauded the Japan Embassy for funding the project, adding that the project would help deliver quality education to children in the beneficiary communities.
Kargbo also pledged to ensure the project was properly and timely implemented, and called for a continued relationship between the embassy and his institution.
In her remarks, Principal of Mohamed Jondy Islamic Junior Secondary School in Waterloo, Isata Barrie, said the project was timely as it would help decongest her school, adding that even the pupils were very much happy to hear that additional classrooms would be constructed for them.
Head Teacher of St Paul Primary School, Mrs. Marthanette Kiawo, applauded the Japan Embassy and Street Child for what she described as timely intervention to ameliorate challenges faced by her school.
Ms. Kiawo said the school was constructed for only thirty-five pupils per class, but noted that the number has increased due to the mudslide disaster at Regent Community. She added that the additional three classrooms would help decongest crowded classes and create a conducive learning environment for the children.