Education West Africa - Meet The Team

I continue to take teachers from the UK, but after talking with headteachers in schools in Sierra Leone I realised that there was a lot more to be done – hence ‘Education West Africa’.

At the moment we are working in Sierra Leone as it is in the most need in West Africa, We now have three projects on the go, one to provide furniture for classrooms, two to provide uniforms so that more children can attend school and three to facilitate improved teacher training. This is achieved through financing conferencesl.

Penelope Sharman, chair of trustees

Rod Sharman, trustee and treasurer

Rod has been involved in education for many years.  During this time he has been a teacher, head and an inspector.  He current inspects school and is a governor in two schools.  He has a lifetime interest in ensuring that children have equality of access to education.

Patricia (Trish) Stevens, trustee

Early in my career I worked in the Congo, based in Leopoldville, later Kinshasa.  It changed my values, my perspective and my life.  More recently I went out to Sierra Leone.  In between I have worked a good deal in schools and spent eighteen years at a residential special school where I learned that progress is made in small steps and that different keys may unlock a child's personal learning and development.  The difference in the level of physical resources in schools in the UK compared to those in many countries in Africa is immense and, as I looked back, I often saw in my mind's eye children learning gathered under a tree, a bit like the cotton tree pictured on this web site, rather than in a building.  Now they have classrooms, albeit often shared between two classes, usually a well and some toilet facilities.

Out in Sierra Leone I was so impressed by the deep desire of the mothers I met that the children should have, through education, greater opportunities than they had had for their own lives.  To see the  happiness and discipline of these children in the mornings, so smart in their freshly-laundered and ironed uniforms, as they sang to us or acted out a play.  To see how polite they are, how willing to learn, was wonderful.  It is an honour to be part of this charity.  Each gift provides work to local carpenters and seamstresses, a uniform, without which a child is excluded from school, and a desk that is sturdy, will last and seats two pupils for their lessons: that is practical, precious and transformational.  May this work grow and grow here.

Viv Earwicker, trustee

Having being a Headteacher in a West Sussex school for nineteen years, I have recently taken early retirement.

One of the highlights of my headship was the strong link we formed with our partner school in Helabu, and my subsequent visit to this and other schools in Sierra Leone.

I was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the people there, but was also acutely aware of the desperate lack of resources in schools and was saddened by the fact that many children were being denied an education by something as simple as lack of a school uniform

I am delighted to be part of EWA and hope that together we can make a difference to many peoples lives.

I was a Headteacher in West Sussex for ten years, and during that time had the privilege of accompanying Penelope and Rod on one of their visits to Sierra Leone. We visited several schools during the time I was there, but the highlight was definitely visiting my own sister school at Koiva. The whole village turned out to greet us, and the children's welcome was just amazing.  That experience has remained with me ever since.

I am now retired, and living back in Northern Ireland, hence it is a real honour to be able to remain connected with EWA, and support the vital work they undertake to provide better education for the children of Sierra Leone.

Our new associate, Mo Shilliday

I’ve recently completed a Masters in International Management and am currently working in supply chain logistics within the aviation industry and love the opportunities and challenges that working in a diverse international business offers.

I’ve always been an active person and during my spare time I enjoy playing basketball and challenging myself to sponsored events such as the London to Brighton Bike Ride and more recently a Hell Run! I have a great passion for travelling and international affairs, much of which has stemmed from my studies overseas in Malaysia and subsequent time spent in S.E. Asia. Having experienced firsthand the impact that poverty and a resultant poor education can have not only on the success and fulfilment of an individual’s, life but also on the development of a country, having the opportunity to work with EWA is a real privilege.

For me it is particularly exciting working with a charity based in West Africa as this is a continent that has always fascinated me due to its chequered history. I hope that as an ambassador to the charity I can continue to expand EWA’s exposure and carry on raising valuable funds for the charity.

John Earwicker, ambassador

John Earwicker
Linda Rudd

Linda Rudd, ambassador

Linda has worked in hospitals all her life but is now taking life easy.   She has a passion for all fibres and textiles and is involved in local groups. 

She has recently started a knitting for charity group at her church.   Some of these items will be winging their way to Sierra Leone.   

She is married to Paul with two grown up sons and a menagerie of animals. 

She is keen to fund raise for EWA.

Mike retired as Director of Education for the Diocese of Chichester in 2012. In that role, he and his Schools Team colleagues were enthused from the start by the child centred work of Education West Africa.

That is why they arranged for money given by C of E schools across Sussex at each of the annual school leavers' celebrations to be donated to EWA.

He strongly supports the important practical support provided by EWA to schools in the Bo and Freetown dioceses in order to improve the educational opportunities available to local children.

Mike Wilson, trustee

Ansumana Kamara, ambassador

My name is Ansumana Kamara and I am from Sierra Leone. I hold a bachelor degree in accounting from the Institute of Public Administration and Management College. In the past three years, I have been working for First International Bank.

When I was attending the Albert Academy Secondary School in the years 2003 to 2007 in Freetown, we were more than a hundred and fifty students in each classroom and there was not enough furniture to accommodate us all. This made the classrooms very uncomfortable and some students had to stand taking notes. After graduating from school, I realized that sitting accommodation is a huge problem not only in my school but also across many schools in the country. As a student there was very little I could do to help.

Years have passed by and I found myself to be part of Education West Africa just after its founding in 2009. I have always been volunteering in supporting the work of the charity; from facilitating local travelling from Lungi Airport to Freetown and help in providing essential information to visiting members of EWA. I also give advice on how to economically spend money on local goods and services. I am very keen to help the charity as an ambassador, especially as I am a resident of Sierra Leone and have had firsthand knowledge of the difficulties teachers and pupils have in unfurnished, overcrowded classrooms. 0

Ansumara Kamara

Amanda Healey, trustee

I have recently retired from headship at St Bartholomew's C E Primary School in Brighton.

While in post I heard other headteachers speak about their schools' links with Sierra Leone, I asked if my school could become involved. We set up a link with Nyandeyama, a new school on the outskirts of Kenema, and have worked with EWA to raise the funds to help them move from temporary accommodation in a local house to a new school building which is already full.

II have visited Sierra Leone twice, and have been inspired by the commitment of the people there to rebuild their country through educating their children.

The EWA projects not only provide uniforms and desks for the children, but also employment for local people, and EWA's careful checks make sure that every bit of money raised is used effectively. EWA is a very practical organisation, and its work really makes a difference, so I feel honoured to be a trustee.

Alyson Heath, trustee

Having been a Head teacher in West Sussex schools for sixteen years, I have now recently retired.

Whilst at my last school we forged strong links with Kenema School in Sierra Leone. Pupils from both schools regularly exchange letters. However it was not until a member of staff visited Kenema school and came back and told us all a bit more of these children’s life experiences that as a school we realised we could give so much more.

One photograph that will always stay with me was a child longingly looking into a classroom from the outside, so keen to attend school but their parents unable to afford to pay for a uniform.

It is an honour to play a small part in the work of EWA to enable more children to have an enriched educational life.

Mo Shilliday
Education West Africa - JustGiving page

I once told the village folk in Koiva, Sierra Leone, that ‘I have been going to school since I was three and now I am over 70! This, at that time was part of a national promotion to keep girls in school.

Yes, I have been in education all my life, pupil, teacher, headteacher and inspector.

The reason being that I love children and want the best for them.

On my first visit to Sierra Leone, accompanying a group of teachers visiting their link schools, I realised that there was a lot of work to be done. This was just after the rebel war had ended.

Rod and Penelope Sharman
Trish Stevens
Viv Earwicker
Mike Wilson
Amanda Healey
Alyson Heath

Martin Lloyd, trustee

Martin Lloyd

Having retired recently as the Assistant Director of Education for the Diocese of Chichester and the Interim CEO of the Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust, I was delighted to be asked to become a trustee of Education West Africa. I had the privilege as a diocesan officer of visiting Sierra Leone twice and seeing for myself many of the Anglican primary and secondary schools in the Dioceses of Bo and Freetown. I was impressed by the way in which education is so highly valued by all communities in Sierra Leone and the incredible welcome that I received as a visitor wherever I went in both the urban and rural areas.

Although the schools face significant challenges, the work that Education West Africa has been doing in partnership with the two Anglican dioceses has made a real difference to the quality of education provided for many children and young people in Sierra Leone. Working in Diocesan Church House, Hove for nearly sixteen years, I was also fortunate to be able to meet bishops and other visitors from the dioceses across West Africa which are partnered with the Diocese of Chichester; I have always valued the opportunities we have when we can share with others what we have in common and celebrate the differences.


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