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For education and equality

The Augustinian Recollect Missionaries of Sierra Leone have been running a small boarding school since 2019 that allows 12 young people without resources to receive education and develop humanly.

It has been several months since Alice Turay and Adamsay Kargbo left their homes and said goodbye to their families to face a unique opportunity. If this were not the case, they would not be able to study or have the chance to build a decent future. Now they live in a boarding school with ten other girls like them in Kamalo (Sierra Leone), where they receive education and training. Most study high school; only some are finishing the last years of primary school.

In 2019, the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries of Sierra Leone decided to dedicate a space, within the St. Paul de Kamalo School Campus, to welcome girls from difficult families and without the possibility of going to school. It is the St. Paul's Boarding School, financially supported by the ARCORES International Solidarity Network and which aims to open a door to equal opportunities, in a social context that does not understand that women can have access to education. They don't just go to school: the boarding school seeks an integral development of the person, preparing them for the future.

The case of Josephine Memunatukamara is similar to that of the rest of the young people who live in the boarding school. Her parents do not have the resources to pay the young woman's tuition at school. In addition, if her family could afford her education, going to school would pose a huge risk to her: she could be raped or kidnapped along the way. Therefore, living in this boarding school is the safest option for girls.

Marion Saffinatu and Julliana Fatumata took the N.P.S.E test at the end of last year. (National Primary School Examination), with the aim of being able to pass from the primary cycle to the secondary cycle. They earned first and second highest marks respectively in the girls category for the entire St. Paul campus (55 girls). Marion was also the second highest score among the 100 boys and girls on campus who took the test. It is an example that hard work pays off.

At all times, families are a fundamental part of the program. At the beginning, the parents of the candidates go to the school and learn about the proposal. Among the conditions for access to the program is not religion, since Sierra Leone is a country with a Muslim majority. The selection criteria is the income of their families, giving priority to orphaned girls. This is the case of Marian Dennis Kamara. Despite being a very diligent student, she did not pass the university entrance exam. Now he is at his adoptive family's home, preparing again to approve it with the support of the Augustinian Recollect missionaries.

«St. Paul's Boarding School has a positive impact on the Kamalo community," explains Friar Jess Marco Sánchez, head of the boarding school. "We have seen concrete benefits in the girls and their families," he says. The objective of the Augustinian Recollects is to continue this project that allows the transmission of the Augustinian Recollect charism, favoring the development of society.

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