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Children keep on dreaming

24 November 2021, Impact of Our Work

Hope amidst another hard year for children

2021 brought a continuation of the pandemic, further lockdowns and school closures. But it also brought vaccines, remote learning and more mental health support for children.
 
This year has been another tough year for children, with COVID-19, conflict and the climate crisis only making things worse. But through it all, children have kept hoping and dreaming of their better future. Save the Children’s generous supporters have been there for children, giving them the support they need to be safe and follow their dreams.

Teneh dreams of becoming a nurse

Teneh lives in Pujehun, Sierra Leone. It’s a remote village where life revolves around the river. Everything is done by the river, from washing clothes, to catching fish. And now, it’s also how Teneh gets to school every day.
 
Teneh didn’t always go to school. In 2017 Save the Children supported the school across the river with refurbishment and recruitment of teachers. That’s when the headmaster, Gassimu Kemoh, paid a visit.
 
He found Teneh and her mother at home and asked why she wasn’t in school. “Her mother told me that she doesn’t have any means to pay for school,” recounts Mr Kemoh. “I told her education is free. She said, ‘What about shoes, what about books, how will she get all those things?’”
 
Headmaster Gassimu Kemoh encouraged students to enrol in the school supported by Save the Children.
Photo: Tom Maguire / Save the Children.
 
So Teneh enrolled, and generous Save the Children supporters supplied her uniforms, books, shoes and other learning materials.

Teneh rows her own canoe to the school every school day, rain, hail or shine. It’s a journey she shares with many other students all dotted around the riverbank villages. "When I am sitting in my boat on the way to school and the wind is blowing, I park the boat and wait for the wind to stop. Then I jump back into my boat quickly so I can get to school early," says Teneh.
 
It’s a tiring journey and she often stops to rest her hands. But the commitment to learning has had an impact. Teneh’s school stands out, with students achieving above the national average in their exams. School dropouts have also decreased – before Save the Children started supporting the school 26% of young girls would drop out. Now just 4% do.
 
Teneh, aged 13, at her school in Pujehun district, Sierra Leone.
Photo: Tom Maguire / Save the Children.
 
With her father now ill, she’s determined to keep learning to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. “I want to be educated and help my parents,” she says. “I want to be a nurse. I want a hospital in my village. We don't have a hospital close to us. When our family members get sick, they take them really far away. They diagnose the disease they have, and after they have been treated, they return.”
                                   
When Teneh’s school closed because of COVID-19 restrictions, she was able to keep learning at home. Save the Children provided solar-powered radios to follow along with radio lessons until schools re-opened. When Teneh was allowed back, new handwashing stations had been installed with liquid soap and sanitizer.
 
With the kind support of our donors, we were also able to fix the school’s roof, repair and fix the walls, create a library, build new toilets and provide chalkboards and furniture.
 
We built a hand pump next to the school, which provides the local village with clean water. We also support teachers with a stipend for travelling to a remote area for work. Eight teachers at Tenneh's school have been trained on lesson planning, children's learning styles, mentoring and inclusive education as part of Save the Children's training program.

The last two years haven’t been easy for Teneh. But with hope, Mr Kemoh and the compassion of Save the Children supporters by her side, she’s on her way to achieving her dream and supporting her community.

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