On Friday 18th November, Colchester Sixth Form College  host a Poetry Reading Evening  to raise funds for the EducAid schools in Sierra Leone.

Contributers to the poetry reading will come from the staff and students of Colchester Sixth Form College, Essex University Creative Writing Dept and from the wider Colchester community. The poetry recitations will include many fresh, original pieces of work drawing from a range of themes.

There will be no entry fee and no need to purchase a ticket just turn up and be entertained. However, as the underpinning motive of the evening is to raise funds for the EducAid charity, a donation on entry and/or at the break would be most welcome.

There will be refreshments on sale from 7.30pm for 15 mins and then at the break at 8.30pm. The poetry reading will begin at 7.45pm.

All donations and any profit from refreshments will go directly to the schools in Sierra Leone. Nothing is lost in administration/bureaucracy.

The venue will be The Performance Studio at Colchester Sixth Form College, North Hill, Colchester.

About EducAid, Sierra Leone

It takes £120 per year to educate a young person in EducAid schools in Sierra Leone.

The evening aims to raise funds for the charity, EducAid, which first generated funds for the   education of young people and then built schools in Sierra Leone to deliver it. It now has six schools delivering forward thinking teaching and learning and successful students. ( See Welcome to Educaid the website)

The charity was founded by 2 students because of what they experienced on an exchange whilst at university in 1993. They found the horrific effects of the ‘Rebel War’ on the children of Sierra Leone.   Readers may have seen the film ‘Blood Diamonds’ which portrayed this war and the extreme indoctrination of children and arming them to kill! The two students saw the need to re-socialise those traumatised children back into a more civilised society.

After raising and sending funds they visited Sierra Leone to see how the money was being spent. They returned with the clear view that they needed to build their own schools and deliver the education to ensure the quality for the young people. Miriam Mason-Sesay became the Country Director in Sierra Leone to lead and manage the education development

In 2000 they built and set up their first junior secondary school in Lumley, Freetown with 20 students on the back veranda and back yard of a rented house.

‘The schools use an innovative and flexible methodology which we devised to achieve high standards and provide for individual needs in a post- conflict situation’.

The civil war officially ended in 2001 and peace was declared

They now have 6 schools and high achieving students.

The charity believes in an ‘holistic’ education for the young people. Success is not just in terms of public examinations but also in developing broader civilised values and independent thinking through an offer of up to 24 extra school clubs.

An example of this holistic education is in the focus they have made on attracting and developing young women who were particularly oppressed in traditional Sierra Leonean culture.   The issue of gender inequality is built into the curriculum. In 2011 a new Girl’s Safe House was built in Maronka. New girls and female staff quarters were also built in Magbeni. Female student confidence and achievement has improved greatly as a consequence.