Pupils at Benevolent Islamic Primary School in Mayirma village continue to attend school in a thatched-made structure, 14 years after it was established.

Mayirma Village, the school’s location, is part of Kholifa Mabang Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, northern Sierra Leone.

Initially, it was named African Methodist Episcopal – and teachers, throughout its being, have all been volunteers.

Currently, the school has three permanent staff, but none on the government payroll, Head Teacher, Alie Kamara, says.

Some of the teachers left because they can’t withstand the challenges of being an unpaid staff in a strange land. We’re currently having a roll of over 150 pupils from classes 1 to 6,” he says.

It’s unclear why the government – past and present – didn’t approve teachers at the only school in the community.

In an exclusive interview with this Sierraloaded, Pa Sullay Kamara, an elder and stakeholder in the village further highlighted the school’s dilapidated state.

The community, the elderly man said is asking NGOs, well-wishers, and the government to assist in the construction of a structure fit for learning.

Pa Kamara says the state of the school negatively impacts learning – but with the collective intervention of everyone, community members periodically provide stipends to volunteer teachers.

However, if, and when sometimes they couldn’t afford money, staff will temporarily suspend classes, he said.

The school conditions are deplorable – with no toilet facility, water supply, and classes taken in a hut-like structure.

And even the chalk to write on the blackboard with is being provided by the community, a staff member said.

Kamara furthers that because it’s considerably far for children to access school in the nearest two villages, it’s a must for the village to have a school.

Currently, he said that the community members are constructing a brick-wall school structure.

“We can’t sit and wait for people to come. We’re going to start somewhere,” the elderly man said.

The flagship program of President Julius Maada Bio’s government is ‘Free Quality Education’. That talked-about mantra, of the Sierra Leone government’s stance on education, isn’t being enjoyed by all of the children and/or schools in the country.

Pupils of Benevolent Islamic Primary School in Mayirma Village, are just one of many examples around the country – experiencing the harm of being deprived of the right to quality education.