We work in one of Freetown's biggest and most impoverished wharf
community called Portee. Most of the residents in Portee are from the Temne tribe and originated in villages in Northern and Eastern Sierra Leone. They moved to the city, with little to no education, in search of a better life. Families live, often times, in crowded one bedroom shacks with little room for everyone to sleep.
Currently, roughly 70% of the nearly 800 students in the Portee community do not go to school due to lack of financial resources. As a result of the high drop out rate, theft and other kinds of crimes, as well as teenage pregnancy, have significantly increased in the community.
During the 2014 - 2015 school-year, we interviewed roughly 350 students and awarded 35 students scholarships. This 2015 - 2016 school-year, we awarded 40 students scholarships, an increase of 5 scholarships.
More than 90% of the students we interviewed came from poor families and range in ages from 5 to 25 years old. Their backgrounds are as diverse as their dreams. They want to be journalists, nurses, economists, teachers, lawyers, engineers, etc. Education, and specifically higher education, is the way out of poverty and to securing a better future for them, their families and the Portee community.