BY Feima Sesay
Orange SL, the leading mobile operator in the country, has on Thursday 28th September 2023 commissioned Beamay Preparatory school situated at Wilberforce Barrack Freetown.
This venture was part of their Cooperate Social Responsibility to the people of Sierra Leone as well as a support to the government’s Free Quality Education flagship project
The occasion was grace by the first lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, including top government and OSL dignitaries.
Given an overview of the event, Kamal Abass of Orange SL said the request was received from the President of the Armed Forces Wives Cooperative Society in April this year.
He said all that after thorough engagement between the President and the General Secretary of Orange SL, and the request was submitted to their CSR committee chaired by the CEO Sekou Amadou Bah.
He underscored that upon seeing the deployable condition of the school the committee decided to proceed with the renovation which commenced in July this year.
Kamal went on to state that Education and Human capital development is one strongest pillar for development in the government of Sierra Leone. Therefore, the Chief Executive Officer Orange SL, Sekou Amadou Bah, in his statement said as a company, they understand the essence of giving back to the community in which they operate adding that was why they did not hesitate to provide the pholatropic support required to the local school in order to create a positive impact on children’s lives as well as foster educational sustainability.
Sekou furthered that when they received the request from the Army Wives Association, with a request to support with renovation of the school, they were compelled to take action to refurbish the school due to deplorable state of the building that made it unfit for learning.
”Because we recognize that good facility and good infrastructure are important hallmark for good school outcome, today we are happy to say we refurbish the school with seven class rooms which will host
About 280 pupils given the school better facilities for effective learning environment to nuture the leaders of the future”, he stated.
He again stated that if a community is to improve its economic and social wellbeing, it needs to invest in human capital development by providing a good Education to give the children the necessary foundation to grow and develop into positive members of the society.
Orange SL, he said will continue to play a key role in the big five game changers of the government through their various CSR and foundation project to drive human capital development and youth employment to contribute effectively to the president’s vision for the country.
”We are happy to formally hand over this facility to the school administrations together with Her Excellence Dr Fatima Maada Bio. I am confident that the people of the school will make good use of these new facilities in order to improve their education and contribute to their country’s progress by achieving full and rewarding lives in the future”, he maintained.
In conclusion of his statement, he expressed his appreciation to the first lady for collaborating with the company on the project, adding that they are looking forward to many more feature collaborations with her office and that of the ministry of Basic Education.
Sekou Drame, Chief Executive Officer of SONATEL, in his statement said it was a pleasure for him to be part of the commissioning of Beamay Preparatory school.
He added that the project was a reflection of Sonatel and Orange SL’s commitment towards fostering sustainable development in education to build seeds for the future.
He disclosed that the objectives of their groups CSR policy is to effect sustainable development goals on the hearts of all their affiliates of West Africa and middle east that will be imbedded in four explicit areas.
He said as a company, they were proud that they were giving back to the community in which it operates in order to ensure the wellbeing in local communities through its educational pillar on CSR and Human capital development.
In the last five years, he said they were the first telecom company to launch a partnership with the ministry of Basic and senior secondary Education by building early child development center across the
country, adding that through their Orange Foundation, the company has built five schools in Kambia, Pujehun, Portloko, Moyamba Bonthe respectively.
He underscored that these early child development centres enrolled children between age 2 & 4 and host at least 48 pupils per school.
He disclosed further that as a company, they are committed to the development in education as the backbone of any society in the world and that they recognized the role it plays in developing the economy.
He also commended the government of Sierra Leone in taking steps to improve quality education as he said they know that government effort could not be enough.
”We are committed towards fostering development in education as this is the backbone of any society in the world and we recognize the role it plays in development of a country. We commend the government for taking steps to improve quality in education,” he stated.
He went on to state that these are the areas they are open to competition and therefore called on other companies to join effort in achieving their goals.
The first lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr Fatima Maada Bio, in her keynote address prior to the commissioning of the school said as a wife of a former military officer, she understands the meaning of togetherness, adding that when it comes to education, it is the first pillar of president Bio’s agenda.
Her Excellency extended her appreciation to Orange and Sonatel for not only refurbishing the school but for elevating its standards to meet higher educational benchmark.
Furthermore, she highlighted her own contributions to the military sector in the last three years including the construction of one of the region’s largest hospitals, which is set to house a medical school in the near future.
In her address, Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, emphasized the importance of collaboration with the Army wives in fulfilling their shared vision of creating a better society for women, children and girls. She urged the
School authorities to maximize the newly provided facility and called upon teachers, parents and community members to unite in delivering a quality education to the pupils.
Chief of Defense Staff, Brigadier General Peter K Lavahun, in a statement commended the first lady for gracing the occasion and extended gratitude to Orange and Sonatel for their efforts in revitalizing the school.
Brigadier General Lavahun acknowledged the Wilberforce Barracks as one of the oldest educational institutions in the area and assured all present that the school will be properly maintained. The commissioning of the Beamay Preparatory school Wilberforce stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts between Orange SL and SONATEL, First Lady, the Sierra Leone Army wives cooperative society. Their shared commitment to improving education and nurturing Sierra Leone’s future generations paves the way for a brighter and more prosperous nation.