Meet Alan Wolstencroft: A British Humanitarian That Has Built 32 Classrooms and Refurbished 23 In Sierra Leone

In 2005, Alan Wolstencroft a British citizen, founder of Alan’s Africa visited Sierra Leone as a Rotary Volunteer for The Rotary Club of Banbury. The Rotary Club of Banbury is part of a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Alan Wolstencroft was born in London. After completing his secondary education he attended teacher training college in Oxford where he studied Physical Education and qualified with a Certificate in Education in 1975, He moved to Banbury (Oxfordshire) for his first teaching post. He later worked as a House Master at a school where they had a boarding school element. Alan has always been a keen sportsman and has also been involved in Charity work since the age of sixteen. Alan left teaching and worked for 3 companies as a Training and Health and Safety Manager before buying a retail business with his wife in 2002 which they closed in 2017 and Alan is now retired. He was a member of the Round Table organization and then joined Rotary in 2004.

Alan Wolstencroft first visited Sierra Leone, for 11 days, in 2005, as a Rotary volunteer working with the Charity Mercy Ships at the Aberdeen’s Women’s Centre on a project to build the Hostel of  Hope believing it would be a “one-off” life experience, but Alan has now visited the country 12 times. On that first visit, they visited a junior school in Kissy and he was impressed by the level of education despite the very limited resources. Alan returned in 2006 for the official opening of the Hostel of Hope and during that visit, Rotarians worked on the building of the Aberdeen Community Market. Once again they visited the school in Kissy – the upper Juniors were being taught under the trees as they had run out of classroom space so they donated some money so they could start to build a classroom and once back in the UK he did some fundraising to ensure completion of the classroom project this experience led him to involve in several charity projects supporting children and communities. These projects include:

Christian Hope School – Kissy Freetown

Funding the building of a classroom by Rotary Mission Challenge teams & Banbury Rotary Club.

Funding a 6 classroom extension and refurbishment of the original 6 classrooms.

Starting secondary education at the school at the request of the community and elders.

Conversion of the basement into an open plan meeting room/assembly hall.

Funding a set of long drop toilets for the secondary age students.

Creation of a recreation area (40 meters x 15 meters) from a piece of wasteland.

Funding of 2 staff toilets

The conversion of an existing classroom into a library and staff room

Funding the building and equipping of 2 additional classrooms.

Funding the refurbishment of the original junior school toilet block.

Funding the re-roofing and total refurbishment of the original 5 classroom block

Calvary Community School, Lungi

Funding the building and equipping of a 5 classroom school

Funding the electricity supply to the new school house.

Funding an additional toilet (previously only 1 for 100 children), refurbishment of all the classrooms, installation of notice boards & school furniture from the UK.

Support with gravity fed water system providing running water & flushing toilets

Conversion of an empty building into nursery classrooms

Provision of face masks during the Covid crisis

Liverpool Community School, Waterloo

Re roofing part of the original School

Funding the building of 2 toilet blocks

Funding the building & equipping of 10 classrooms merging the secondary & junior schools on to one site

Funded the building of an office/staff room/store

Refurbishment of the original 4 classrooms

Funded the installation of a hand pump and improvements to the water well

Water harvesting on four classroom blocks (14 classrooms)

Water harvesting on 2 toilet blocks including handwash stations at each of the blocks

Building a security wall to  form a compound and protect the school buildings during the rainy season

Funded the building of a library & laboratory for the secondary school complete with water harvesting system

Funded the building of a Junior school library room complete with water harvesting system

Installation of mains electricity to 9 classrooms, communal areas and compound

Supplying textbooks to both libraries

Starting the “Sunny Girl” project – supplying sanitary pads to enable girls better access to education

Provision of face masks during the Covid crisis

Good News Pentecostal Community (Banbury International Community School), Waterloo

Funding the building and equipping of 6 classrooms, an office/staff room/store to create a new school

Funding the building of two toilet blocks

Water harvesting on all the school buildings including handwash station on the toilet blocks

Funding the installation of a water well

Funding school uniforms for 100+ children

Started the “Sunny Girl” project – supplying sanitary pads to enable girls better access to education

Funding the building of a compound wall (ongoing)

Provision of face masks during the Covid crisis

Kunduma Community School

Refurbished 3 classroom building and provided desk & bench sets for the children

Installed a small toilet block with water harvesting & handwash station (previously no toilets for 100+)

Esthers School

Installed a small toilet block with water harvesting & handwash station (previously no toilets for 100+)

Mahera Wharf Community Football Club

Providing football kit and equipment to the Club which runs 4 boys/youth teams

Installation of mains water, toilets, shower & wash basins to the Hostel where 12 orphaned lads live

Supporting some of the boys with school fees and educational expenses

Providing essential supplies during the Covid crisis

General projects

Provision of assorted humanitarian aid items for the 6 schools and several other communities.

E-bola: living allowances to school staff & paying children’s school fees post e-bola

Supporting 3 teenagers/young adults living expenses & education fees (ongoing)

Covid 19 – living allowances to 90+ school staff

Sierra LeOANS – a small Micro Credit scheme supporting 4 ladies

Summary

Built 32 Classrooms, Refurbished 23         Built 8Toilet blocks, Refurbished 1        Electricity 9 rooms

Installed 1 well, refurbished 1    Gravity fed water system   Water harvest 21 classroom + 6toilet blocks

General Information

Since January 2007 when he started his AlansAfrica projects, Alan Wolstencroft has raised a total of £272,500.

He has undertaken 376 presentations which have generated £95,000 of this overall total

At Salone Messenger, I had an interview with him to tell us his fascinating and inspiring story.

Q. Tell us about your work in Sierra Leone?

ANSWER: I had the opportunity to return in 2007 and was keen to see the “new” classroom in Kissy. It was on this visit that I realized what a relatively small amount of money had done to improve this school community and I realised that by working directly with a Community that I could “Make a Real Difference”. I gave a commitment to the Head teacher that I would help them fund the building of an additional 6 classrooms at the school and this was the first step on my journey.

Q. You are the founder of the Alan’s Africa. Tell us what trigger the initiative and how it all started?

ANSWER: I believed that by working directly with a Community I could make a real difference and improve the facilities at a school and create better opportunities for the children at the various schools. Whether it was a classroom, classroom furniture, toilet facilities, or general resources such as classroom equipment or uniforms, all these things would be so beneficial to the school community. The schools are aware that I will help them BUT will not be messed around and that if they let me down I will walk away and channel my resources elsewhere.

Q. What have been your achievements working back home?

ANSWER: I am very fortunate that over a period of time I have developed a strong network of supporters in the UK. I receive some financial support from my Rotary Club (Banbury) BUT the AlansAfrica project is driven by me and I am responsible for all the fundraising. As a volunteer I am able to say that EVERY £ raised goes directly to the projects – there are no overheads and all my expenses are either paid for by myself or sponsors. This I believe is one of the things that appeals to supporters as they know ALL their money reaches the projects.

Q. What are some of the challenges you are face with?

ANSWER: The main challenge facing me at the moment is the Covid 19 situation as I have had several fund raising talks cancelled due to the social distancing regulations.

Q. What would be your message to your partners and sponsors across the world?

ANSWER: I would like to express my sincere thanks to ALL those individuals, organisations and companies that support me and re-iterate to them that we are truly “Making a Real Difference” in Sierra Leone to the lives of thousands of people. Together we are “Changing Lives and Making Dreams a Reality”.

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