By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Chief Executive Officer of Sonatel, Sékou Dramé, has noted that Sonatel and Orange’s Group are commitment towards fostering sustainable development in education, to build seeds for the future in Sierra Leone and all the countries they are operating in Africa and the Middle East.
Dramé was last Thursday speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the Orange Telecom renovated Beamay Nursery and Preparatory School at Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown.
“This project is a reflection of Sonatel and Orange’s Group commitment towards fostering sustainable development in education to build seeds for the future.The objective of our group Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy is to deploy sustainable development goals at the heart of all our affiliates across Africa and Middle East that will be imbedded in four explicit areas including well-being of communities in which we operate, good governance, growth and economic development through our investments and preservation of the environment,” he said.
He said they were proud that Orange Sierra Leone was giving back to the community in which it operates, to ensure wellness of the local community through its educational pillar on CSR to build human capital development.
He further noted that in the last five years, they were the first telecoms company to launch a partnership with the Ministry of Basic & Senior Secondary Education, to build early child development centers across the country.
He said through the Orange Foundation, they have built five ultra-modern Early Learning Development (ECD) schools within the last three years in Kambia, Pujehun, Port Loko, Moyamba and Bonthe Districts, respectively.
He said those early development child centers enrolled children between the ages of 2 to 4 years and holds at least 84 pupils per school.
He disclosed that they have also commenced construction of the 6th ECD School for the community of Sarguehun Town.
“We are committed towards fostering development in education as this is the backbone of any society in the world and we recognize the role it plays in development of a country. We commend the government for taking steps to improve education quality, but we know that the government efforts alone could not be enough. Orange Sierra Leone wishes to express its firm commitment to be a trusted partner of the government for development to support the five big game changers through driving human capital development, youth empowerment and our continued investment in technology and infrastructure,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of Orange Sierra Leone, Sekou Amadou Bah, said as company they understood the essence of giving back to the communities in which they operate, hence they didn’t hesitate to provide the philanthropic support required to the renovation of the school, to create a positive impact on children’s lives and to foster educational sustainability.
He said when they received the request from the Army Wives Association, to support with renovation of the school, they were compelled to take action to refurbish the school due to the deplorable state of the building that made it unfit for learning.
He said they recognized that good facilities and good infrastructure are important for producing good school outcomes.
“Today, we are happy to say the refurbished school with seven classrooms will host about 280 pupils, giving the children of the Beamay School better facilities for an effective learning environment to nurture the leaders of the future,” he said.
He said if a community is to improve its economic and social well-being, its needs to invest in human capital development, by providing a good education and provide kids with the foundation to grow and develop into productive members of the society.
He promised that Orange Sierra Leone will continue to play a key role in the five big game changers of the government through their various CSR and foundation project, to drive human capital development and youth empowerment, and to contribute effectively to President Julius Maada Bio’s vision for Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Peter K. Lavahun said the school is one of the oldest schools within the military facilities in the country, adding that the school was constructed to ensure that children of officers go to school whilst they are at work.
He said over the decades, the school structure was in a dilapidated form but with Orange Sierra Leone’s intervention, they have renovated it and that they were grateful for it.
Commissioning the School, the Country’s First Lady Fatima Maada Bio, said education is the first pillar in the President Bio’s agenda and that is because he wants Sierra Leone to be part of the millennium and for any country to be part of the millennium that country have to prioritize education and thanked Orange Sierra Leone for supporting the renovation of the school.