Wirral ‘Supply Teacher’ Laurel Parkinson has just received news that OAKS charity school in Bo, the second city of Sierra Leone, will be back to work in early April, schools will have been closed for seven long months as part of Government policy to try and halt the spread of Ebola. The 300+ pupils, supported by this small family & friends charity, have been ‘sitting’ waiting for the terrifying Ebola virus to be brought under control.

The Sierra Leone Government has just released the results of the National Primary School Exams (NPSE), a little like our 11+, deliberately delayed from August, due to Ebola restrictions. OAKS are overjoyed, all 39 pupils have passed, the school’s 5th year of 100% pass rate!

OAKS is achieving amazing results in a poor and underprivileged community, sharing the empowerment of a good education. OAKS employs 9 native teachers, 2 assistant teachers, bursar, caretaker and cleaner. The charity motto is ‘Make a difference’ and they are!

Laurel tries to visit 2 or 3 times a year, supporting teacher education as well as teaching in the classroom herself. She says, “UK teachers are amazingly well trained and it’s good to share this expertise to assist much needed development in Sierra Leone.”

The charity is so impressed by the staff’s dedication and the pupil’s progress year on year that it is expanding into Junior Secondary, years 7, 8 and 9.

The first new classroom development was assisted by the pupils of Ridgeway High School, Wirral, who raised money for all the classroom furniture and the second classroom was completely paid for by the staff and affiliates of the Merseyside ‘Beers Timber & Building Suppliers’.

OAKS is a dedicated and transparent charity, 95% of all donations are spent on the ground in Bo and regularly audited. Trustees Nic Phipps (Wirral Builder) and Margaret Jarrett (Care Provider) also visit at least once a year, everyone ‘self funds’ – OAKS believe donors want their hard earned money well spent on the intended recipients where it can be demonstrated that it’s working hard and producing results.

View some of the many pictures & articles via OAKS website and its facebook link: www.oaks-sl.org