June 18, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
The Buya Romende Development Organization commemorated the Day of the African Child on 16 June with Ebola orphans, donating learning materials worth five million Leones to some 250 Ebola orphans in Buya Romende Chiefdom, Port Loko District.
The donated materials include notebooks, pencils, pens, sharpeners and erasers, plus plastic files and packets of chalk as support to teachers.
The recipients were drawn from R.C. Primary School at Mabureh village; D.E.C. Primary School, Buya village; R.C. Primary School at Rosent village; R.C. Primary School, Foredugu village; SLMB Primary School at Foredugu village; and R.C. School Kamasondo village; with most of the affected kids coming from Komrabai and Masamu, Mabureh, Rosaint and Paitfu villages.
Project Coordinator, Abu Bakarr Sesay, said the donation only targeted school-going Ebola orphans as the commemoration of the Day of the African Child coincided with the country battling with the Ebola virus which has greatly affected children’s access to basic social services, especially in the areas of health and education.
“We commemorate the Day of the African Child this year with the stark reminder that a good number of Buya Romende Chiefdom’s children commemorate the day in the absence of their parents who perished through the Ebola virus that has ravaged the country as a whole and the chiefdom in particular. Currently, the chiefdom is facing enormous challenges as a result of the Ebola virus,” Sesay recalled in a solemn tone.
The Project Coordinator commended the show of unity and effort by folks of Buya Romende in defeating the virus, adding that the chiefdom was quarantined by government on 24 September, 2014 due to a spike in Ebola infection that resulted to massive deaths.
When the virus first hit the chiefdom at Komrabai village, it was linked to witchcraft and a lot of people died as it was belatedly realized that the cause of death was the Ebola virus.
He said the purpose of the donation was to help keep Ebola orphans in school, and promised to sustain the gesture and raise awareness about the deadly virus. He urged caregivers and guardians of Ebola orphans to continue to provide support to them.
He called on the kids to study hard so they can live their dreams, narrate their stories and help build their communities in the future.
The donation, which was done in the presence of jubilant community stakeholders and relatives of the Ebola orphans, also brought somber moments as some relatives shed tears in remembrance of the deceased parents.
Yabowara Kanu, a female Chief at Mabureh village, one of the villages that was seriously hit by the virus in the chiefdom, expressed her appreciation for the donation, especially at a time when things are so difficult for parents and the Ebola orphans.
Issa B. Sesay, youth leader of Mabureh village, commended the organization’s gesture and recalled it is not the first time they were receiving assistance from the organization. “At the height of the disease when people were running away from our village, you brought us foodstuff and it was very timely at that time when essential foodstuff are difficult to get,” said Sesay.
Head Teacher of the UMC Primary School at Mabureh village, Amadu S. Bangura, thanked the organization for their “laudable venture to alleviate the burden of providing these learning materials for these kids from their guardians”. He further appealed to the organization to advocate on their behalf for a revamp of the school feeding programme, which he said had been cancelled for several months now. “These kids need the feeding programme now more than ever before,” Bangura pleaded.
Paramount Chief Bai Banta Nkenedy II was overwhelmed to see such a venture coming from a community-based organisation which members are descendants of the chiefdom. He assured the organisation of his continued support in ensuring that the activities of Buya Romende Development Organisation are well received across the chiefdom.
In the same vein, the organisation officially unveiled its signposts at Kamasondo and Feredugu, the two main towns in the amalgamated chiefdom, and its office at Kamasondon.
The idea to establish the CBO was initiated by members of the Buya Romende Pioneers Association and strongly supported by two of its renowned descendants, Elvis Kargbo and Hon. Buya Kamara, who are also members of the association.