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Tacugama provides Scholarships to Mountain Communities

By Salifu Conteh
The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary donated 18 scholarships of Le200, 000 each totaling Le 3.6 million to pupils of the Church of Christ Primary, Rural Education Committee Primary, Bathurst, Abigail Butcher Primary, Allen Town, Children in Crisis Primary and Education for All, Allen Town, Saio Primary Schools and the Logus Academy of the Faith Healing Bible Church both at IMATT, Regent in the Mountain Rural District.
The Education Coordinator of the Tacugama Sanctuary, Ethel Sillah revealed that last year they started awarding scholarships to pupils (a boy and girl in each school) when it was discovered that there were brilliant pupils in dire need of help clarifying that teachers in the beneficiary schools identify two brilliant pupils yearly for the scholarship covering tuition and that the money is paid directly to the school authorities.
The beneficiaries, who were accompanied by their teachers and parents, include Josephine Koroma, Abdul Rahman, Mariatu Koroma, Suliaman Marah, Ophelia Koroma and Abdul Karim Kabeneh.

The Manager of the sanctuary, Mr. Aram Kazandjain, congratulated the pupils and urged them to be studious revealing that the operations of the sanctuary are not only limited to taking care of chimpanzees, but also engaged in livelihood support to 22 communities nationwide where it is active, supporting education for pupils to become better citizens, reforestation, renewable energy and underscored the need to protect the environment.
He furthered that the sanctuary solicits funds and grants by presenting cogent proposals to donors for support , that the schools need government support and underscored that the sanctuary wants to make a difference for which it visits schools regularly.
He assured that the scholarship scheme would be long term as the sanctuary is committed to the education of pupils reiterating that human beings are part and parcel of the environment and so must leave it in a good state for generations.
Mr. Aram Kazandjain also intimated that since he arrived in Sierra Leone three months ago, his experience has been fantastic, that the impact of the sanctuary has been much more visible than in the past, observed that although economic development is important “there can be no economy without the environment” and underscored that educating the pupils would motivate them to reciprocate when they become successful.
The Saio Primary School at Regent, located on a 6-town lot and founded by an illiterate woman, is a community school with 236 pupils, 124 girls and does not receive any assistance from government since its establishment in 2008 inspite of several appeals to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology through the Western Area Rural District Council.
Even the trained and qualified teachers are paid by the community from the Le50, 000 each parent pays per term. Over the years, pupils of the school have performed well in public examinations out of the eight times they have attempted the National Primary School Examination with last year being the best.
There is only one government school in the area that cannot cater for the growing number of pupils. However, the school lacks good toilets, water supply as the pupils walk three miles to fetch water, electricity and adequate space with teachers not paid for three months now. The school only received school materials from government at the end of the Ebola outbreak.
The Coordinators of the program, Cyrus Macauley of Rural Education Committee Primary School, Bathurst and Alie Conteh of Joy Preparatory Primary School, were singled out for their outstanding contributions to the sanctuary.

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