School uniform brings community together

Sidcot School Sierra Leone

Sidcot School Sierra Leone - Credit: Archant

Following the crippling Ebola epidemic in West Africa over the past few years, communities in the region are beginning to rebuild – and one town in Sierra Leone is on the up thanks to Sidcot School in North Somerset.

The school, near Winscombe, has been sending resources to an orphanage in the town of Rokel, where 87 people died from the Ebola virus.

The Dorothy Peace Centre orphanage provides shelter and education for vulnerable young people. School uniform, in particular, has helped the orphanage bring the community together.

Sidcot has been working with charity worker and peace activist Abdul Kamar. He said: “The children were so excited to receive the uniform which has created such a buzz and gave them hope, pride and a sense of belonging.

“Attendance at the school has increased and such is the pride in their new uniform the students have decided to rename the school Sidcot School Sierra Leone.”

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The success of the relationship between the schools has motivated sixth-form student Caroline Green to plan a volunteering trip to the school next summer.

She said: “I spoke with Abdul and heard his story when he first visited the school and I am really excited about the possibility of helping with this project directly by travelling out to Sierra Leone.

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“If I manage to travel out I hope not only to be able to give as much practical aid as possible but also to open my eyes to a different way of living.”

Sidcot headteacher Iain Kilpatrick believes the donation of uniform and learning resources is just the foundation of the relationship.

He said: “While many leading independent schools are opening new and very lucrative campuses overseas, we think it is far more globally responsible to support projects such as Sidcot School Sierra Leone from the ground up.

“We know education will provide these disadvantaged children with a future and if a small gesture such as providing a school uniform can encourage and inspire attendance, imagine how much more we can do to support their development and lives in the future.”

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