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By Nigel Slater Friday 25 January 2013 Updated: 31/01 15:06
THE CHAIRMAN of a Vale charity which helps poverty stricken youngsters get a better education has said significant progress has been made.
Laurie Read, chairman of Pershore based Waterloo Schools Charity, visited Sierra Leone last month and helped people in three schools in a town called Waterloo learn how to use new tools and computers.
The charity aims to improve living conditions in the country after it was engulfed in a devastating ten-year civil war which saw a complete breakdown of authority and the town's schools burnt to ruins.
The Waterloo Schools Charity has completed worthwhile projects in the town including refurbishing burned out classrooms, building a nursery school and extra classrooms as well as developing a new science and technology department in the town's secondary school.
Laurie's latest visit allowed him to see the completed technical and vocational unit in the town's secondary school and was able to set up two workshops for the keen youngsters.
He was also able to see how the children were using the equipment donated by the generous people of Pershore and the rest of the county after a 40ft container was sent to the poverty-stricken country.
Laurie said: "The parents and elders of Waterloo are keen their children learn practical skills that will help them to make a living when they leave school.
"Most people are subsistence farmers or petty traders without a regular income and unemployment is very high due to illiteracy and lack of skills. So the youngsters learning these vital skills is very much needed.
"Our primary school is still very crowded but the rooms are now bright and cheerful and there are books and teaching equipment in every one.
"There is always a demand to take in more children and this year twenty street children who have no family and live rough in the market have been given uniforms and shoes to allow them to be at school.
"We are grateful to all our supporters and especially this year to Pershore High School where the students have decided to “adopt” us and raise money for scholarships for poor children to attend secondary school."
For more information about the charity visit their website at www.waterloo-schools.org/.
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