Dankawalie Secondary School at 5:
Badenya concluded the 5th year of Dankawalie Secondary School with much progress.
The Sierra Leone Ministry of Education has now given DSS full recognition as a secondary school with a scheduled allotment of five (5) qualified teachers (with Higher Teaching Certificate and above) starting with the 2012/2013 academic year. This is a huge step for the long-term sustainability of DSS. We look forward to the Ministry’s commencing support of these teachers’ salaries. Currently, Badenya, Inc. pays most of teachers’ salaries as school fees cover only two months’ salaries out of the DSS. In July 2012, thirty-three (33) students sat the end-of-junior-secondary school examination from DSS. The West African Examinations Council has not yet released the results.
New Board of Directors:
On my June 2012 trip to Sierra Leone DSS formalized its board of directors that comprises an inclusive representation of villagers, DSS alumni, village Diaspora and government officials and opened an account with the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank which makes direct international fund transfers to DSS in Sierra Leone possible.
New Toilet Facilities:
DSS also completed the construction of two new toilet facilities, one for boys and one for girls, with partial funding from Schools for Salone. Earlier facilities were too close to classrooms.
Earlier this year, Badenya had asked the Sentinel English Language Institute to organize the Dankawalie Community Library, housed at the school and comprising the school library but also serving the entire community. We have just learned that the Canada Fund will fund the setting up of this library. Current donated books are being catalogued but we continue to need additional donations.
Badenya Tax-exempt and Charity Status:
The biggest news on the Badenya front is the permanent extension of our 501(c) (3) status by the IRS with a Public Charities Status: 170 (b) (1) (A) (vi). This makes it certain that we will receive the New York and other states charities recognition we need to engage serious fundraising for our programs here in the United States and abroad. Our next steps are to finalize the Board of Directors and draw up a program of action, including fundraising and implementation.
Badenyeh community development group has not only accomplished their first goal to: create a road to hill where villagers can use their cell phones to contact the larger world, they have also used their biweekly contributions to purchase rice in “the season of abundance for sale to villagers in the season of hunger” at a discounted price to members.
Oxfam, the Canadian NGO, is completing a water-well on DSS campus for the sole benefit of the school.
Books donated by Books for Africa through Schools for Salone last year have arrived in Dankawalie. We transported the books to the village from Freetown in January. Ms. Jacqueline Leigh, Director of Sentinel English Language Institute (SELI) began organizing the library in March. While conducting the Writing Club, she also began to bring libraries to the school and town.
The government in Sierra Leone has formally recognized Dankawalie Secondary School as a community school. This designation makes it eligible for public funding. Addtionally, a group of Badenya supporters met to brainstorm ideas for strengthening the organization. The group identified goals for future meetings, including: building a strong board and shaping programs. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join future brainstorming meetings!
Students at the Souhegan High School in New Hampshire held a fund raiser for the Dankawalie programs. The students raised money through an Ethics Forum “Play Your Part” Concert and Carnival presented by Souhegan Ethics Forum in New Hampshire in collaboration with School for Salone they donated $2,600. The fund is being used for the construction of new toilet facilities for Dankawalie Secondary School.
Recently, the people of Dankawalie started a new and complementary community building body, Badenyeh. Badenyeh is not based on clan, gender or age (the old criteria) but on collectivism, activism and voluntarism. The self-selected group of 18 men and women (between the ages of 20 and 45) is dedicated to meeting the needs of the village and fighting any corruption. Membership in the group costs the equivalent of more than a day’s wages and ensures commitment from the participants. Their first project is to build a new road to the top of a hill where they can get wireless phone connection! When the dry season comes, they will begin to build a cultural center for all, regardless of religion, gender, age, or clan.