October 1, 2022

Four European tourists from Finland, who were part of the Budapest-Bamako rally which traversed from Europe to Africa and entered Sierra Leone over the weekend, donated various items to three schools and a clinic at Kossoh Town in the outskirts of Freetown on 19th February 2020.

The four Finnish; Pekka Saarelainen, Kristian Rastedt, Petri Suoniemi and Eero Taipale who were arrived in the country on board Van#229 from Finland jointly contributed to the philanthropic gesture. They donated assorted items such as footballs and sets of jersey and shoes for children, eight laptop computers and accessories, one IPad and a variety of medical items to a community clinic.

The beneficiaries include, HAFLIN Pre-Primary & Int. High School, Claris Elementary School and East End Int. High School and Salaam Clinic, located at Kossoh Town in the Western Area Rural District.

Beaming with smiles and in a complete state of surprise while receiving the items, the Proprietress of HAFLIN School, Madam Hawa Fatmata Bangura expressed appreciation to the team for the kind humanitarian gesture extended to her school, noting that they were not expecting the donation for school which is located miles away from Freetown.

She said the donated items including a laptop computer and assorted football kits will be used for it intended purpose and stated further that the school is constrained with many facilities to accommodate the growing number of underprivileged children who want to gain admission into the institution.

Madam Bangura said the school had embarked on expanding its infrastructure using the meagre resources collected as school fees but said the building project they started some years ago is yet to be completed. She appealed for further support that could be rendered to the school to help children with limited opportunities to gain quality education, knowledge, and skills that would also contribute to the country’s development.

East End International High School was Team Finland’s next stop, where they also donated six laptops and accessories including an IPad which was received by the school authorities in the presence of students.

The School’s Principal, Ishmael Koroma, emphasised that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become a potent tool to enhance learning, teaching and research work for education institutions but remarked that due to scare resources, they have been lacking for teachers and students alike.

“We want to sincerely thank your team for these computers, they will help us as teachers to research materials for effective teaching and career development,” the principal said.

Addressing students, Pekka Saarelainen, said they travelled all the way from cold and icy Finland, a country in Europe to Sierra Leone to explore the different cultures and noted that he found Sierra Leone to be extremely different from other countries with lots of beautiful beaches and climate and a very hospital population.

He encouraged students to do their best in school by focusing on their education as future leaders of the country and to make use of the computers to develop their skills which they would badly need in the near future.

At the Salaam Clinic where the medical items were donated, Kristian Rastedt said he hoped the equipment and medicines would be administered on patients who attend the clinic to seek for medical treatment.

It could be that over 700 members of the Budampest-Bamako rally rode in 210 vehicles, 52 bikes, 18 trucks and buses and arrived in Sierra Leone through Glalamuya border in Kambia on Saturday 15th February. They passed the night at Masiaka – Koya Chiefdom and then proceeded with their fleet to the finish line at Siaka Stevens Stadium on 16th February 2020 where they received a tumultuous welcome from the President Julius Bio and many other Sierra Leoneans, upon completing their 16 days navigational and philanthropic journey, passing through ten countries in Europe and Africa.

Credit: N.A. Koroma