Teachers’ visit to UK boosts school links
We were thrilled and somewhat amazed when five Bo OWL members got their visas first time! This was thanks to an OWL friend in Freetown – Michael Dennis (previously British Council) – without whose help we’d have never negotiated the whole, complex and costly visa process.
Our visitors enjoyed the hospitality of seven new host families who had offered through the network of Leamington and Warwick schools. Over the years, many OWL members have become interested in the link through offering to host and we hope this is to continue with many new friendships forged this year. A programme of school visits, meetings and experiences was organised to enable the team to learn about British education and culture as well as some of the issues we have in common such as Climate change. Sight-seeing in London, Birmingham and Coventry plus Fish & Chips, Ten Pin Bowling and a Curry at the Himalaya restaurant were all part of a packed itinerary.
Jennifer Abulai, Columba Sherriff, Nemahun Vandy and Elizabeth Allie all spent time getting to know their link schools – attending assemblies, observing lessons and joining staff-room discussions, as well as visiting other linked schools where they shared stories about life in Sierra Leone and learnt about our curriculum and methods.
Also among the team was Teachers’ Coordinator John Sandi who is now helping with the management of the OWL Centre in Bo – amongst visiting many schools John was able to spend time in discussion with the UK committee, visit Campion Secondary School and JBC Skills Training, a computer business in Coventry (who have given desk-top computers to Bo OWL).
The visit culminated with the annual Day of the African Child event where the visiting team, dressed in their beautiful, matching ‘ashobi’ surprised us with a special song they had prepared for the Finale Assembly which sang of us working together in friendship while naming every school. See the pictures of the event. We certainly hope and expect that this visit serves to strengthen the bonds which had suffered through the dry years of covid. We recognise that OWL partnerships are really very unique in offering these face-to-face opportunities – we look forward to working with strengthened links where friends on both sides are able to play their part in building understanding and support.