For pupils, especially girls living in rural areas, class completion remains scarce with high dropout rates and consistently low enrollment in secondary school. Early pregnancy, gender-based violence, child marriage, and cultural biases propagate the cycle of gender inequality. Sierra Leone has one of the world’s highest adolescent pregnancy rates, a phenomenon that is largely responsible for the high dropout rate among girls. Girls in Sierra Leone often get married as early as age 11, and more than 60 percent of girls throughout the country are married before the age of 18. Early marriage further hinders these girls’ abilities to pursue an education and gain independence
In Sierra Leone, rural communities in particular face significant barriers to education for their children: children spent about four to five miles walking on the road from their houses to the schools, by the time they arrived at their schools, they become tired and loses concentration in class. For some girls who can’t manage these challenges, they will end up giving their bodies, sex for Okada riders to take them to school, hereby killing their future.
We Yone Child foundation is a not-for-profit organization registered in Sierra Leone. They improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families in Sierra Leone through quality education and life empowering opportunities. After a recent survey, they conducted in Kamabonko village on parents and children on the challenges they face to access education. They complain of walking miles away to and from schools. They told the organization that they sometimes lose concentration due to fatigue after walking miles away to and from school, thereby lack the urge to study after school, thus leading to poor performance in class and attendance in school.
We Yone Child Foundation with its partner, Slum Aid came in to support the children by providing bicycles for the children. This, according to them is to ease the access to education and minimize the rate of children and young people engaging in sex for education.
The founder and director of the organization, Mr. Santigie Bayoh encourages the children to use the bike right away and reminded them that it is a bicycle library project means that the bikes will be used by the first badge of children and later hand it over to the library after they complete their senior secondary school “ the need for this bicycle liberary project is to easy the access to edyucatio and improve on the grades of the students, over the years, we have heard of money complains by the pupils and their parents that they work miles away to go to school, and some of them end up giving their bodies for okada riders, so we are bringing this library in the school to ensure that we minimize the risk of teenage pregnancy and also increase the attendance in class” The founder told Salone Messenger
The Chiefdom Speaker – Karene District Headquarter Kamakwie Mr. Momodu James (MJ) Kamara thank the foundation for the support. “I am very happy for this library project, on behalf of the Paramount Chief, and the entire chiefdom, we want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the organization and it partners for supporting these communities, they children are indeed in need of this as they are coming from far distance to schools” He said
The chairperson of the event, Mr. Amara Shengbe who is the Education, Outreach Child & Protection Officer for the We yone foundation encourages the children to take good care of the bike and call on other organizations to think about supporting children living in these deprived rural communities.
“no child or parent have the right to hand over the bike to anyone, it is not your personal property only the library have the mandate to hand over the bicycles to the other set of children after the current pupils’ graduates from schools, I am calling on more partners to join us in supporting these children as they are need of these bicycles.” He told Salone Messenger while stressing that the bicycles should be used for the intended purpose.
Mr. Ibrahim Sieh Tarawalie from the ministry of education, Kamakwei thank the foundation for supporting the communities and cited the support the foundation did in making the ministry office accessible for the disabled. “ I am so happy to witness this program today, indeed, this is not the first time the We Yone Child Foundation is supporting the rural communities and most especially vulnerable people, this foundation helped the ministry to ensure that it has access for disabled, he has been such good person into us, we want to thank the foundation for continuing to demonstrating their love and support”
Beneficiaries after receiving the bicycles thank the foundation and talked about the challenges they had faced going to school.
“ I walk over 4 miles every day to go a school, I get tired to the point that when I return home, I am unable to study, I am happy and want to thank the foundation for supporting me with this bicycle,” one of the beneficiaries told Salone Messenger during an interview with her.