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“We are preparing the stage for Lokos to take over”

…LUDA President

May 5, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai

lokos
Chiefdom Speaker II of Magbaimba Ndohahun chiefdom, Chief Ansumana Kanu, handing over package containing books, pencils and erasers to a pupil, while LUDA VP looks on

 

beneficiaries
Beneficiaries displaying their school bags during a group photo with LUDA members

President, Loko United Development Association (LUDA), Abdul Denis Koroma, has said his organisation was preparing the stage for the Lokos to progress and take ownership of their destiny.

He made the above statement recently during the award of scholarships and handing over of school items comprising exercise books, bags, pencils, and erasers to 300 primary school pupils in Libiesaygahun, Gbendembu Ngowahun, and Magbaimba Ndohahun chiefdoms, Bombali district, northern Sierra Leone.

The three hectic but exciting days, which started on Monday 1st May, 2017 and ends on Wednesday 3rd May, 2017, saw beneficiaries, their parents and teachers expressed optimism for a brighter future.

“We decided to bring scholarships to our young brothers and sisters in the primary schools because we were from these chiefdoms and we knew what life was when we were going to school. It was very difficult for our parents to pay our fees and buy for us school items,” he said. He added that, “This is a way of preparing the future generation for the better.”

He disclosed that LUDA is a non-profit making organisation and it is strictly apolitical. He noted that LUDA was formed in order to give helping hands to the people of the three Loko chiefdoms in Bombali district because they cannot always depend on foreigners to be helping them.

“I want to categorically say that all the funds that we are using to embark on this project were contributions made by LUDA members in Metropolitan, United States of America (USA). The funds were not given to us by white people to bring to you. We are also not using this project to ask you to vote for us because we are not politicians. We are here strictly to help you get out of poverty,” he said.

He urged parents to send their children to school as they will not have to pay a cent for the 300 pupils in each of the three chiefdoms for the 2017/2018 academic year, thus calling on them to avoid giving their girls to early marriage.

The LUDA President said the awarding of scholarships and handing over of school items was the first phase of many of their intended projects, noting that they have even secured 60 acres of land in Libiesaygahun chiefdom to cultivate rice in order to feed the Loko people. He added that plans were underway to replicate it to other Loko chiefdoms.

Mr. Koroma said the monies for the scholarship would be sent to the Bank account of all beneficiary primary schools. He added, “This is a way of being transparent and accountable for funds that were contributed by our members for our young ones here.”

He said LUDA’s National Coordinator, John Tinga Koroma, who has been doing very well, will be sent on monthly basis to monitor the beneficiaries of the scholarship in all the schools.

Vice President of LUDA, Kebbie Sesay, said even though they were about 6,000 miles away from their people, their thoughts were always with them, adding  that LUDA is passionate about education and that was the reason they  prioritized it in the three Loko chiefdoms.

“We knew how difficult it was for us to walk from our villages to our various schools in these three chiefdoms. Enough is enough for the Lokos to be at the back.We are very intelligent people but we need the required support to take ownership of our own destiny,” he said.

The LUDA Vice President noted that they have realised that most of the schools lacked trained and qualified teachers, furniture, teaching and learning materials. He noted, “We have taken into consideration most of the challenges of some of the schools in the three Loko chiefdoms and we are hoping to intervene in order to salvage the situation.”

He re-echoed the advice of his President, Abdulai Denis Koroma, by urging parents to stop giving their girls to early marriage and encourage them to go to school always.

Another member of LUDA from the U.S, Mariama Koroma, called on parents to encourage their children to take advantage of the scholarships by always going to school.

National Coordinator of LUDA, John Tinga Koroma, said the schools and pupils were carefully selected for the scholarship scheme, after needs assessment was conducted.

A founding member and adviser of LUDA, Dr. Benedict Kargbo, urged paramount chiefs, teachers, parents and other community stakeholders to monitor and encourage the school-going children in the three chiefdoms.

“No pupil should sit at home if he/she benefits from the scholarship. All of you must be seen at school always. We want all of you to acquire education and come back to give to society as LUDA is now doing,” he said.

At Batkanu town, Libiesaygahun chiefdom, Paramount Chief Bai Yankay Kargbo II, expressed appreciation to LUDA for helping their own people. He added that education is light and that any enlightened community would see nothing but development.

P.C Bai Kandeh Baba Kieha III, Gbendembu Ngowahun Chiefdom, said the awards of scholarships and handing over of learning materials to the pupils was timely.

“This project is timely because most of our people here are living in poverty-stricken conditions. They cannot always afford to pay school fees for their children and that is the reason for the massive dropouts from school. This project is all about poverty alleviation and we appreciate it,” he said.

He said the parents whose children did not benefit from the project should not be discouraged because that was the first phase, adding that they will probably benefit next time.

Chiefdom Speaker II of Magbaimba Ndohahun chiefdom, Chief Ansumana Kanu, said LUDA members took breathe-taking journey to go to their chiefdom and  render such assistant, adding  that they should be commended.

Parents whose children benefited from the scheme expressed their gratitude to LUDA for thinking of them in time of need.

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