A UK registered international development charity based in Portsmouth has sent a 40 ft container of tools, books, wheelchairs and medical equipment to Sierra Leone. The items will support post-war community schools, young offenders’ institutes, local hospitals and maternity clinics, disabled groups, and skilled artisans.
Practical Tools Initiative, a charity set up by the Sierra Leonean human rights activist and campaigning journalist James Fallah-Williams, and other professionals in UK and Sierra Leone, sent the container on May 10th and it has now arrived in Sierra Leone.
Included in the container were tools for carpentry and joinery, masonry, bricklaying, tailoring and mechanics. There were also high quality artists’ materials, thousands of top-grade text books and teaching resources for secondary and primary schools, medical equipment for hospitals and clinics in Sierra Leone, and mobility aids like wheelchairs, zimmer frames and commodes.
The container, which was loaded at Jacob’s Well Care Centre in Gosport left Felixstowe port for Freetown, Sierra Leone, on May 16th. It arrived in Freetown last week, and has been cleared from the Water Quay port today 11th July.
The Chair of the Charity Mr Musa Ephraim Bockarie said today:
“We are very thankful for the support we received especially from our funders, and from Book Cycle, Book Aid and other national institutions and private individuals in UK. We are also thankful for the overwhelming assistance from Greater Manchester, and locally from the Gosport Corps of The Salvation Army. We hope that this will be a lasting partnership in tackling some of the most difficult issues exacerbating poverty in post-war communities in Sierra Leone.”
The founder and programme director James Fallah-Williams said: ‘Some of the key issues we are addressing now have been totally ignored or mishandled through corruption and incompetency.
“Since the end of the civil war, Sierra Leone’s education system has woefully underperformed year-on-year. More and more students are failing to meet the required grades to allow them to further their education. This is due to a lack of resources, which was one of the underlying factors of the civil war.
“In other areas such as health, pregnant women in rural areas are carried for miles in wheelbarrows to ‘local’ clinics where even basic first-aid support is not available. The items we are sending will help support several institutions in three of the four regions in the country.
“One of our main projects is supporting skills training at the Sierra Leone Approved School (young offenders’ institute), and we are giving good-quality educational resources to six deprived community schools. We hope to do this for the foreseeable future as a way of helping to improve the lives of the marginalised.’