ZF Donations Arrived in Sierra Leone
New year fundraising campaign of "ZF hilft." started to benefit the victims of natural disasters
Under the slogan of "100 years - 100 schools", ZF launched the largest educational project in the history of the company through the public charity "ZF hilft." in its centenary year, 2015. A total of 4.2 million euros were donated by ZF employees, the Group and the UBS Optimus Foundation. The proceeds were used to finance more than 4,300 bicycles for students in Africa and to support 100 school projects worldwide, in India, Bangladesh, China, Mexico, Nepal, Peru and the Philippines.
In the West African republic of Sierra Leone, ten school construction projects received support from “ZF hilft.”. Our team of reporters visited ten schools in and around the capital city Freetown which had been built or renovated with the help of donations from the centenary year. At the summit of the European Union and the African states in Abidjan, it recently became clear how “ZF hilft.” is effectively tackling current issues with this funding. For example, “Schools for Africa’s Economy” was the headline of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (issue of November 30, 2017), with a report that the EU is the main contributor to the stabilization of the economic situation within the African continent with construction of school infrastructure and provision of funding for educational initiatives.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) annual World Development Report, Sierra Leone is among the countries with the greatest educational deficits worldwide.
Escaping poverty through education
In Grafton, a small town on the west coast of Sierra Leone, about 200 boys and girls now have a great opportunity to escape poverty through education. The school here, like the other nine ZF-sponsored schools, is run by the private organization “Rising Academy Network”.
The school building in Graften is built according to the principle of low cost: simple yet functional. The school consists of eleven containers, ten of which serve as classrooms and one of which is used by the school's principal Florence Selima Kpakima as an administrative office. The containers are set up to form a square, with the inside area serving as a schoolyard with a striking centerpiece: the “Tree of Wisdom”. The students stand in front of this tree every morning before their lessons begin and start the school day with an assembly which consists of singing the national anthem and reciting a prayer together.
Here in Grafton, 15 teachers teach the children and adolescents reading, writing, arithmetic and science. The language of instruction is English. The cooperation between “ZF hilft.” and Rising Academy came about through the “YOU Foundation – Education for Children in Need,” an initiative of UNESCO Special Ambassador, Dr. honoris causa Ute-Henriette Ohoven. For principal Florence Selima Kpakima, it was a stroke of luck. Through the “we>move” reporters, she expressed her thanks to all ZF employees: “You, the donors, are true heroes, because you enable important changes to be made in the lives of young people.”