By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Daud Ibrahim Bendu, Head Teacher of the Sierra Leone Islamic Federation Primary School (SLIFPS) in the Masorie Baimba Community, Port Loko District, has raised serious concern over what he described as the appalling condition of his school as it lacks water and sanitation facility.
“My school is faced with multiple crises. We have no proper toilet facility in and around the school, the only toilet we have were having is now full, and the situation has attracted more toilet and house flies around the school premise which is in no doubt exposing us and our pupils to diseases,” he cried.
The Sierra Leone Islamic Federation Primary School which was founded in 1977 is situated very close to the Masiaka Toll Gate and the location is largely exposed to noise pollution which constitutes a complete distraction to pupils and teachers.
Adama Scott is a mother of three kids who are attending the school. She informed this medium about the high risk of fatal accident their children are exposed to because of the school’s proximity to the toll gate.
“There are no crossing signs from the street to the school and there are no mechanisms put in place to protect our children from the accident they are prone to. The school has no perimeter fence thereby increasing our children’s vulnerability to accident,” she lamented.
Scott expressed a more serious concern when speaking on the appalling toilet and wash facilities in the School. She said “though the school toilet is now full and messy, but it is better we are seeing the structure. For water there is no means of accessing it until our children trek on a distance of about two miles in a bush where they access contaminated water running from a swamp”.
Scott said the water is used by not only the school but also the surrounding communities.
She said their kids sometimes run back home or to the school whenever they had an encounter with snakes and other bush animals on their way to the stream.
“This is the only school along five communities including Ma Sorie Baimba, Mabilah, Gbemkendy, MaSorie Kurr and Makurr, but less attention seems to be paid to it,” the head teacher echoed.
With only three class rooms and a few dilapidated furniture, the head teacher said each class room is divided into two classes and that sometimes pupils from different stages are given the same notes. He said only three teachers including himself are on payroll while the rest are not on payroll.
He said during the construction of the Wellington – Masiaka toll road, the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority promised to either relocate the school or erect a parameter fence around it within three years, a promise which he said was never actualized.
Other school teachers including Alpha U. Jalloh and the chairman of School Management Committee, Gibrilla Kamara expressed similar concerns.
They said some of their kids are experiencing rashes, diarrhea and other diseases as a result of the poor wash and toilet facilities in both the school and the community.
All those interviewed were calling on government, Non-Governmental Organisations and humanitarians to come to the aid of the school and the communities around it.