Kirsty Wood, co – founder of Swawou, travelled out to Kenema last month, here is what she has to say:

“I had last visited in May 2014, when we were just weeks away from completing the construction of our new primary school and were looking forward to pushing ahead with many exciting plans for the 2014/15 academic year. 

It was during this visit that the first few cases of Ebola began to emerge; at the time I could not have imagined how the outbreak would soon consume the country and how much this was sadly going to affect the Swawou project. 

Over the following months the outbreak continued to spread at an uncontrollable rate. Government quickly shut all schools, including Swawou, to prevent further transmissions. During the outbreak we tried to offer support where we could, including continuing the payment of teachers and monitoring the girl’s health and well-being through regular home visits. We were lucky that none of our pupils or staff were directly affected by the virus.

It was fantastic to see the girls back at school, with their usual enthusiasm and excitement for learning. What became clear during my visit is that educating the young people of Sierra Leone is now more important than ever before, helping to ensure that future generations have the skills, knowledge and confidence to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again. 

I feel more inspired than ever before to ensure that the Swawou project continues to achieve its mission of giving girls a quality free primary education and a brighter and healthier future. Please join us in making this possible.”