My dear friends and well-wishers,
You are all welcome to the 10th anniversary of the Holy Family Schools. The celebration is centered on our motto Educare Ut Liberare as our theme. The occasion was witnessed by different dignitaries from different places of work among these are representatives from the government of Sierra Leone, the European Union ,UNICEF, companies and to name but a few. Our guest speaker on this occasion is the minister of education science and technology Dr. Minkailu Bah. This first edition of our newsletter will respond to the 10th anniversary celebration and all you need to know about the current status of the school in terms of its infrastructural development, academics, facilities, achievements, challenges and constraints.
The Holy Family Schools are located at the hills of Mayenkineh in Calaba town east end of Freetown. This part of greater Freetown is deprived of the basic social privileges including education. The concept of Freetonians about the west end of the city is that all credentials of human dignity including housing, private schools, good roads, electricity, pipe borne water etc should come from the west but this concept was challenged by the founder and proprietor of the Holy Family Schools Rev. Fr. Joseph Berton blessed memory who established a modern private schools for the less-privileged communities.
These communities were notable for high crime rates and above all children were subjected to street trading rather than schooling. Today, the Holy Family is serving the educational needs of the Calaba town, wellington and the Mayenkineh communities in the east end of Freetown. We are proud of the Holy Family as one of the most outstanding private schools in the country in terms of infrastructural development, capacity building and academic performance of our pupils.
Thus it becomes the choice of hope for the children and parents of these communities. Friends and well-wishers, your presence to this celebration is of paramount importance. Your support and interest to improve the human dignity in education will be appreciated so much. The Holy Family has lost a great philanthropist, who was very much supportive to the growth of the school. He is always receptive to the challenges of the schools especially at a crucial moment when hopes are almost dashed. Our hands are wide open to companies, associations, NGOs, individual support, and the government of Sierra Leone to fill the vacuum of our proprietor.
Mr. Charles Y. Fofanah
The Holy Family Secondary School is a Catholic co-education private school established in September 2004. The school was founded by an Italian Xaverian missionary priest by the name of Rev. Fr. Joseph Berton blessed memory who passed away on 25th June 2013 aged 84 years.
The school for first timers is perceived to be a school for the rich; this has been interpreted because of its status of a private school, standard infrastructure and attractive learning environment. But this perception is contrary to that of the founder`s. Rev. Fr. Berton`s motive is to extend educational facilities for the less privileged children in a community that is prevalent of petty trading and high crime rates.
Today, with the establishment of the Holy Family Secondary school in the wellington and Calaba town communities and its environs, there is a drastic drop in the engagement of children in petty street trading and less crime rates.
The school demands high respect for the catholic faith in all aspects of life. Proprietors, school administrators and staff are deeply committed to the growth and development of the religious, moral and intellectual aspects of the pupils of the Holy Family.
FROM THE DESK OF THE RECTOR
We were prepared for a journey that we should continue at all cost, we pray for the spirit of perseverance, courage and dedication, even as we continue to mourn the loss of our great pioneer, Late Rev. Fr. Joseph Berton: may his soul rest in perfect peace. Our benefactors have not relented. We are still grateful to them all, especially AVSI foundation.
Ten years of the Holy family Schools deserve recognition. The development has been drastic – in infrastructure, academics and many other aspects. Our first batch of students from Milton Margai College of Education Science and Technology were here for teaching practice this year. The schools can boast of yielding fruits from their labour.
Therefore, for all progress made, during the course of the ten years, we continue to be grateful and appreciative. We pray for wisdom and understanding to correct and make amends for the many negatives that must have occurred
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of family homes Movement, the Board of Governors of the Holy Family Schools, the C.T.A, Staff and Pupils of the Holy Family Schools, i wish to express appreciation to our contributors and our distinguished guest whose support is will be needed to fill the gap of the Late Rev. Fr. Joseph Berton. We Pray for intensification of our good will to schools administration.
May God bless us all.
Jeneba Z. Timbo (Mrs.)
Rector Holy Family Schools
Bravo to Family Homes Movement (F.H.M) the main proprietors and local implementer of all school projects through AVSI foundation. The school was established by this charitable organization under the proprietorship of the Late Rev. Fr. Joseph Berton.
Bravo to AVSI Foundation for their immense contribution in education as they are developing the educational potentials of Sierra Leonean children. Their financial and moral contributions are yielding positive results into the life of our youngsters. About 75% of our pupils who went through the Holy Family Senior School got the entry requirement to the Universities and teacher training colleges. Our first batch of students from Milton Margai College of Education Science and Technology were here for teaching practice this year. The schools can boast of yielding fruits from their labour.
AVSI has been so prompt in paying salaries for the staff of the Holy Family School. The MAE project under the supervision of Alessandro Galimberti as AVSI representative constructed four class rooms for the senior school, a library and multi-purpose playing grounds for the levels.
In 2010/11 academic year, the MAE project paid for 102 WASSCE students and sponsored a seven weeks training of teachers to acquire basic information technology in Ms Word and excel programs. In 2013/14 academic year, a well equipped computer library was installed under the supervision of Nicola Orsini. The lab contains all relevant information required for the three domains - Art, commercial and science streams.
THE SCHOOL I.T LABS
Bravo to Scotia-Aid, Build on Books and Lab Aid for their contribution in providing school learning materials such as: school furniture, text books and science laboratory equipment.
Bravo to S.T Foundation for insatlling ten brown new computers to failitate basic computer training for the school and the community.
Bravo to our friends in Italy – Franco Nembrini and family, Rimoldi and family, Alfredo Toresani and family, Viviani Magoni, Gabriela Bigi, Anton Barbu and others for their interest in education as a priority for a deprived community like Sierra Leone. These people contributed in making the Holy Family Schools what they are today because of their expanded educational facility to the school through AVSI.
Special thanks and appreciation to Carlo for the purchase of the two mini buses and for his laudable proposal to put up the two classrooms for the senior school.
Our students determination to reach the academic zenith have helped them to overcome the difficulties of their poor economic status. Their performance in public exams in the National Primary School Examinations (NPSE), The Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) the gateway to the senior school and the West African Senior Secondary School Examinations (WASSCE) the gateway to the univesity wrer very splendid. The senior school outstanding performance in the WASSCE in 2010 rated us second best school nation wide.
CHALLENGES AND CONTRAINTS
Inspite of the aparent good status of the school in terms of their infrastruture and academic performance, there are challenges and constraints that demand urgent consideration. The following stand out very strong.
- SALARY RESTRUCTURE: Employees of Holy Family Schools especially teaching staff boasted of fair wages until when the government of Sierra Leone reviewed the salaries in government assisted schools. The difference range from 50% and above affected the school as teacher salary at the Holy Family School now is below government assisted schools. Since then we have been loosing teachres to other place of work especially the mining companies while those who stayed gradually loose effectiveness.
- THE ACCESS ROAD TO THE SCHOOL: late coming is becoming a serious disciplinary problem of the school because pupils have to cover almost a mile on foot to come to school everyday. The only means of transportation to the school is motor bike for those who can afford it. We need support to restrucutre the road so that pupils will be accessed to the school with modern means of transportation preferably a school bus.
- WATER SUPPLY: Family Homes Movement – our proprietors and AVSI – our donors have made relentless efforts to acquire water facility in the school area. As the population increases in the community, there is the tendency for this facility. The lack of water in highly felt during the dry seasons. The bore whole constructed three years ago is not functional.
- EXTENSION OF FOURTH CLASS ROOM OF THE SENIOR SCHOOL: the growing number of the school population and the extension of four classrooms because of the new policy on education the SSS 4 posed a serious demand for more classrooms, furniture and more teaching staff.
- SCHOOL CANTEEN: the school has no cafeteria system as food is sold by food vendors to the pupils. For hygienic purpose and control of the students, the school needs a canteen. Pupils need to be healthy, well nourished and ready to learn in an environment which is adequate in resources and facilities.
- SCHOOL FEES: with the reasonable school charges of the Holy Family Schools, yet about 25% of students hardly pay school fees due to the low earning power of their parents. AVSI paid about 40% of the school fees for direct beneficiaries of the Distance Support Project. 25% of the students are orphans who were direct beneficiaries to the proprietor Rev. Fr. Joseph Berton. Now that the benefactor of this category of students is dead the project seems to die out since nobody has taking the responsibility. The school authorities are faced with the financial burden to pay fees for the affected students.