CODE and its partner in Sierra Leone, PEN-Sierra Leone, were thrilled to get a helping hand with their programming from the crews of two visiting Royal Canadian Navy vessels. On Monday, March 20th, sailors from HMCS Summerside and HMCS Moncton took to shore for a trip to Aberdeen Municipal School in Freetown to participate in a group reading of CODE’s locally produced Reading Sierra Leone children’s books. The books were presented to the school by Willy Rangira – CODE’s program manager for Sierra Leone. The sailors interacted with school children and also helped build and install shelves for the school library.
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CODE’s Executive Director, Scott Walter, is delighted that CODE’s programming has once again been selected as an example of Canada’s ongoing support of development through education. Last October, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited CODE’s programming in Liberia.
“The ability to read and write is the very foundation of what children need to grow into independent learners and problem-solving adults who can navigate the world around them”. -CODE Executive Director, Scott Walter
Aberdeen Municipal School students happily reading to Lieutenant Commander Paul Smith - commanding officer of HMCS Summerside.
The Aberdeen school outreach was part of the RCN’s broader Neptune Trident 17-01 mission to strengthen Canada’s relationship with West Africa and to retrace historical footsteps connected to Nova Scotia. The city of Freetown was settled by Nova Scotians who were once free slaves that had migrated up to Nova Scotia during the American Revolution. In 1792, 1500 of these freed slaves boarded two vessels and crossed the stormy Atlantic to settle in Freetown. The journey has particular meaning for Lieutenant Commander Paul Smith, the commanding officer of HMCS Summerside. LCdr Smith is the first black captain of a sea-going Canadian Navy Ship. HMCS Moncton is commanded by LCdr Nicole Robichaud.
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High Commissioner of Canada to Ghana and Sierra Leone, Heather Cameron (standing) addressing the crowd at Aberdeen Municipal School in Freetown with LCdr Nicole Robichaud (seated top-left) and LCdr Paul Smith (seated top-right).
The High Commissioner for Canada to Sierra Leone, Heather Cameron, attended the school activity along with local members of the education community in Freetown, CODE’s partners in Sierra Leone, PEN and TALLE, and volunteer expert and Reading Sierra Leone program developer, Dr. Charles Temple.
(From L to R) CODE's Program Manager, Willy Rangira with Allieu (PEN-SL), Mohamed (PEN-SL), and Hajj (TALLE).
High Commissioner Cameron hosted another event on Sunday March 19th on board HMCS Summerside and HMCS Moncton to celebrate the rich historical ties between Canada and Sierra Leone and marking the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. This coincides with the 225th anniversary of the founding of Freetown. CODE’s Willy Rangira and PEN’s Mohammed Sheriff attended the reception along with Alhajie Sallieu Kanu from Reading Sierra Leone’s other local partner, TALLE (The Association of Language and Literacy Educators), members of Sierra Leone’s Canadian expat community and VIPS from Sierra Leone.
THANK U #HMCSSummerside & #HMCSMoncton crews for taking time to read & build shelves at Aberdeen School in #Freetown! @RCN_MRC @CanadainSL pic.twitter.com/qKiuY7iYNL — CODE (@codecan_org) March 20, 2017
LCdrs, Paul Smith & Nicole Robichaud along w/ High Commissioner to #SierraLeone, @HCameronGH hosting a reception tonight on board the ships https://t.co/xd4JNtXUGM — CODE (@codecan_org) March 19, 2017
The Reading Sierra Leone program is entirely funded by CODE and loyal Canadian supporters.