African News

Transforming Africa’s education system

23 October 2015 at 21:22 | 1243 views

Contributed to the Patriotic Vanguard

Africa’s education system is being transformed by two exceptional women, specifically Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Miriam Mason-Sesay (photo), Co-Founder and Country Director of EducAid Sierra Leone, and Winnifred Selby, 20, Founder of EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative, will both be honored by World of Children® Award on November 5 in New York City for their noble support of the country.

EducAid Sierra Leone was first established in 1995 as a scholarship program. In 2000, Miriam moved to Sierra Leone to establish EducAid’s first school, which was the back veranda of a rented house, where she began teaching 20 children. Since then, she has devoted her life to serving orphans and vulnerable children, including many former child soldiers and victims of the country’s brutal civil war. During her 15 years in Sierra Leone, Miriam has surmounted myriad challenges associated with affecting change in a war-ravaged country. Most recently, she faced, perhaps, her biggest challenge with the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone in 2014. Despite the danger facing everyone in the country, Miriam chose to stay and continue her work, keeping her promise to students that their education would continue. Today, EducAid has expanded to nine schools serving 3,000 students.

Twenty-year-old Winnifred Selby visited the Northern region of her native country of Ghana in 2010 and encountered children who faced incredible obstacles to pursuing their education. She saw children who walked barefoot several miles to school, exposing their feet daily to injury and soil-transmitted diseases. She learned about the horrible lengths some girls had to go to procure sanitary pads and the health risks they faced by using improvised supplies. Moved to help these children meet their basic needs, she founded EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative to empower young people from deprived communities by breaking down barriers to education by providing these children with scholarships, shoes, and the necessary hygiene products.

World of Children® Award improves the lives of vulnerable children by funding and elevating the most effective changemakers worldwide. In its 18-year history, World of Children® Award has invested more than $7 million in programs led by 100 Honorees serving vulnerable children worldwide.