March 31, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
As part of their corporate social responsibility to communities across the country, Airtel Sierra Leone Tuesday, 29 March, 2016 commissioned the Maranatha Primary School in Regent, Freetown.
Speaking at the ceremony, Airtel’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, June-Rose Johnson, said Maranatha Primary School was the forth school they have adopted in the country, adding that they decided to adopt the school after the chief of the community approached them and lobbied for assistance.
She said they visited the school and observed that the environment was not conducive for learning, thus the company’s management decided to embark on a fifty thousand United States Dollars project to construct a building of eight class rooms, including an office for the head teacher, book store, staff room and three out-side toilets.
Managing Director of Airtel, Dapo Olasope, said he was elated to be part of such epoch making development story of creating conducive learning environment for children in the deprived community, adding that “education has a greater role to play in this age of modernisation.”
He quipped that education was a guaranty for both the child’s and country’s growth, as when children are educated they can contribute to national development.
He promised the company’s commitment to promoting education in Sierra Leone, and called on the school’s management, community members and pupils to take proper care of the building. He also promised that Airtel would always support the school as and when the need arises.
Giving an historical background of the school, Rev. Theophilous Tamu said it was established in 2003, deriving it name – Maranatha – from the popular Nigerian Ibo language, which means ‘Jesus is coming soon.’
He said the school started with two class rooms and three teachers and that he single-handedly managed it until 2005, when they got government recognition.
He said the school currently has 650 pupils plus fifteen teachers, adding that they had participated in nine National Primary School Examinations (NPSE) and performed better.
Alimamy Bangura, Senior Schools Inspector at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, commended Airtel for their magnanimity, adding that the provision of conducive learning environment was vital to the achieving quality education for children.
Chief Ya-Alimamy Jalloh expressed her joy over the completion of the project, adding that they used to pay transport fare for their children to attend school in down town Freetown, but they would no longer have to go through such constraints.
“I had met with Airtel and asked them to help our children get a good school in this our community and they did not let us down. Today we have a new eight classroom school constructed by Airtel and we are grateful and we pray that God would continue to bless them,” she said.
Hon. Pateh Bah of Constituency 92 said the construction of the school complements President Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity, which has education as one of its key pillar.
He thanked Airtel’s managing director for their support to his constituency.
In his keynote address, former Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, said Sierra Leone was referred to as “the Athens of Africa” because it hosted the first university – Fourah Bay College – in 1845. Alhaji Kanu performed the auspicious task of cutting the tap to the newly constructed school building.