Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Latest News & Updates

Minutes of Link meeting of 5th April 2017

10 April 2017

Minutes of Ordinary General Meeting – 5th April 2017 Present: John Geater, Bill & Eileen Evans, Ray Keene, Liz MacKay, Eve Martin, Lynn White, Nola McSweeney, Roger Mitchell, Isabel Hodger, […]

Treasure Hunt organised by our Rotary friends

25 March 2017

Our friends in Rotary have been terrifically supportive to the Link, raising money for the complete rewiring of the Health Centre. Here’s a chance to repay their kindness. Rotary is […]

Big Quiz Night on Friday 3rd March

3 March 2017

It’s all over!  We raised an amazing £1590 for our projects in Hastings Sierra Leone, and had a good time doing it.  See Richard’s Facebook link for an account of […]

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Bottle tops bring Maths to life in Sierra Leone!

Eight teachers from Hastings and St Leonards schools gave up their February break to teach in the classrooms of their partner schools in Sierra Leone. Teachers from All Saints, Christ Church, St. Mary Star of the Sea, West St Leonards and Dudley had all been awarded travel grants from the British Council within its Connecting Classrooms programme.

During the autumn, teachers of schools in both countries attended courses to develop Critical Thinking and Problem Solving skills. These have been developed to address a variety of topics with Zero Hunger as the focus for a joint project. Children added ideas to explore, from growing vegetables to raising pigs in the school yard. Issues of food sources and distribution in Sierra Leone and the UK were discussed. These joint projects will now continue to bring the schools together.

Old friendships were renewed and new friendships established during the week. All who took part are planning ways to raise funds to bring their partners back to the UK in May, to continue to learn from each other. Everyone involved sees these partnerships as really important, bringing first-hand experience of living and learning in very different cultures.

Sierra Leonean teachers were enthusiastic. One wrote, “We love and appreciate the time we spent together in and out of the classroom. I am inspired by your love for us. Even when you were melting in the sun you still wanted to teach the children.” Another said, “I appreciated the project done by you in Years 5 and 6. These have opened my eyes to a lot of ways of teaching that I never knew before. I want to continue this kind of working.”

Former head teacher and maths advisor Isabel Hodger, who recently joined Roger Mitchell coordinating these exchanges, was able to offer her expertise by providing a workshop for local teachers. She prepared by collecting bottle tops to use as mathematics teaching aids as few resources are available. More than 20 teachers attended. One said she was immediately able to apply what she had learned. “We did subtraction today, very interactively. Every group had their own problem to solve and at the end of the lesson I was able to give them suitable homework,” she said. “Thanks for your ideas.”

Isabel and Roger are continuing to work with teachers in the nine other local partnership schools, with the intention of teachers working with colleagues in Sierra Leone every year.
Roger said, “I continue to be excited by the benefits that we are seeing from the decade spent building these partnerships since our towns of Hastings were twinned.”
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Friendship Link is providing vital health support in Hastings, Sierra Leone
Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link and its supporters have been working hard to transform a health centre in the African community of Hastings, Sierra Leone. Since Hastings in East Sussex first became involved with our Twin Town in Hastings, Sierra Leone through the Loaf Project in 2001, we have been very aware of the health problems affecting its inhabitants. Eleven years of civil war were followed by slow rebuilding of health services. These were then hit by the Ebola outbreak resulting in the loss of one third of health workers across Sierra Leone. Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link and its supporters in Hastings, East Sussex, along with other NGOs, has been working with the Health Centre in the Village for a number of years both pre and post Ebola. Christine Boulton-Lane, chair of the Link’s Health Sub-committee said: “The facility has been completely rewired thanks to St. Leonards Rotary; the size of the building has doubled, and we have had the privilege of helping with the provision of drugs and equipment as well as providing protective clothing during the Ebola outbreak.” She continued: “Last year we provided the money for a new bore hole to provide a more reliable water source. We have recently provided an ultrasound Scanner for the Maternity Unit.”
“The Health Centre has a dedicated staff who work relentlessly to provide a service to the Village which has seen a rapid increase in its population. Children under five are involved in an inoculation programme not dissimilar to those run here. Aids and TB Patients are catered for; a Family Planning Service is offered and many outreach campaigns are run including Polio checks to make sure all children are protected alongside bed net campaigns which can provide up to three nets per dwelling in the fight against Malaria.”
Later this month Christine will be returning with two Doctors who work with Prime (an International Christian Medical Education Charity which has its roots in our Town in East Sussex and with offices in Battle) who will be providing a Workshop for local medical staff of all faiths on Whole Person Health Care.
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