The children attending Calvary Community School in Lungi, Freetown, have never had running water.
Now, thanks to the charity Alan’s Africa, driven by Oxfordshire Rotarian, Alan Wolstencroft, the youngsters no longer have to draw water from a well a quarter of a mile away.
A five classroom school was funded by the charity in 2010, but without any water directly at the school.
Pastor Mark is the man who runs the school, and Alan admitted that one of the things he loves about the community, is they rarely ask for anything.
“If they need something, they try a bit of self-help to get things moving,” he said.
“Pastor Mark’s community decided to improve their facilities for the school and the church by sinking a well and installing a gravity-fed water system. So the community held a whip-round to kick-start the project and, with the money, raised they were able to sink the well.”
Everybody is so excited. For the first time in the church and school’s 20-year history, we have running water.”
The next phase was to build a tower to house a 5,000-litre tank and, with a submersible pump, water will be pumped up to the tank.
A number of taps would be strategically placed around the compound giving a readily available source of fresh, clean water.
“I asked Pastor Mark if he needed any financial support for the next phase,” recalled Alan. “I knew the answer would be yes, but he did not ask for any money.
“He provided me with detailed costings for the tower, tank and all the pipework and I promised him that I would fund the work.”
Having secured a grant, the work began and was completed recently.
There will soon be two flushing toilets, another first for the community, and although funding has been provided, these are still to be completed.
The system will benefit over 120 children who attend the school, about 250 church members and approximately 1,000 people from the surrounding community and this project is a major step forward for the entire community.
The cost of the project was £2,200. Pastor Mark was delighted with news that work on securing running water had been completed.
He said: “Everybody is so excited. For the first time in the church and school’s 20-year history, we have running water.
“Members who live close to the school are now coming to fetch water – what a great joy.
“Our entire community sends its great appreciation to Alan and all his supporters.”