Parents, Teachers and Pupils of Jawie Chiefdom in Kailahun District were on Tuesday October 19th 2010, full of joy and happiness as the Major Kula Samba Memorial Scholarship Fund awarded dozens of female school-kids with scholarships. The scholarships were presented to each of the recipients by renowned Sierra Leonean philanthropist Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden who travels regularly all the way from Freetown every year to present the scholarships in furtherance of her belief in empowering the girl child through scholarships.
The ceremony was held at the Daru Town's Jawei Chiefdom Court Barray where a huge gathering of hundreds residents and prominent personalities including all the elected and local authorities were present to grace the event under the watchful eyes of the Paramount Chief Musa Ngombuklah Kallon II and the elected Parliamentarian, Honourable Moinina Conteh representing that Constituency 06.
For the past few years, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, who is also the Chief Executive of the Awareness Times Publishing House, has been travelling to that part of the country to donate the scholarships. This year, Dr. Blyden explained that despite the bad global economic climate which was adversely affecting most business interests, hers not excepted, she decided to dip into her personal savings to increase the number of beneficiaries of the Kula Samba Memorial Scholarship for girls with the thought in mind that more parents would need to benefit from such gestures given the economic problems being faced nationwide.
|Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden & Cross-section of this year’s recipients in front of the Court Barray
Dr. Blyden is widely seen as a woman who has always signaled to the world that women can equally do what men can do and she believes that educating the girl child is one way of empowering the girl child. She decided to immortalize the name of her late friend, Major Kula Samba by manifesting to the Kailahun people that their late daughter’s name was now a symbol which represents the development of their young upcoming girls.
Speaking earlier during the Welcome Ceremony for Blyden held at the Togbini Hills Guesthouse, the Paramount Chief who was accompanied by his Chiefdom Speaker, all his Section Chiefs and Traditional Elders stated that Dr. Blyden had turned the date of October 19th for them from one of remembering with sorrow that they lost their sister to death on that day, to one of celebrations that because their sister lived, many girls are increasing their chances of becoming educated.
In his statement at the Chiefdom Court Barray shortly before the presentation, Hon. Moinina Conteh of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) highly commended Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden for creating an avenue whereby they all could still remember their late sister, Major Kula Samba with pride.
Hon. Moinina Conteh stated that every single visit of Dr. Sylvia Blyden to Jawie Chiefdom has always been historical and worthy to be remembered.
The Honourable Parliamentarian of Constituency 06, disclosed to loud cheers from the jam-packed Court Barray that Dr. Blyden is not only a philanthropist, humanitarian and human rights activist but also “a powerful Sierra Leonean who we all now know stands by the truth and has no fear in whosoever or whatsoever situation”.
Furthering, Hon. Conteh said of Blyden, “She will condemn you if you deserve to be condemned and praise you if you deserve to be praised regardless of you being her friend or her foe”. In this regard, Hon. Conteh said Dr. Blyden continues to challenge many issues of State concern and has regularly brought out hidden facts to light. He wished for the girls of Jawei to continue to see Sylvia Blyden as their Role Model to emulate in this country.
One of the parents of the beneficiaries, whilst speaking during ‘sara’ prayers held at the residence of the late Paramount Chief Bockarie Samba, recalled the words of Shakespeare which said that Caesar was more powerful dead than alive. He said in the same vein, the late Kula Samba was more powerful in death than in life as her name was being used to help educate so many needy female girls.
In her vote of thanks, the Headmaster of the Kailahun District Education Council (KDEC) Mr. Momoh L. Galiwai, on behalf of the parents and beneficiaries of the Kula Samba scholarship highly commended Dr. Blyden for “this kind of gesture which no single person has ever done here in my lifetime”. He prayed whole heartedly for Dr. Blyden to continue to be blessed by God Almighty and to help development in the country as he put it; “educating the girl child means you are educating the whole nation”.
The ceremony was climaxed by the distribution of over fifty dozens set of books, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, sharpeners, mathematical sets, school uniforms and materials worth millions of leones plus physical cash to each of the lucky girls to fully pay for their yearly school expenses and any other after-school lessons. None of this year’s additional school girls were chosen by the Kula Samba Fund which left the choice of recipients to the chiefdom authorities and schools. Each of the lucky recipient was recommended for the scholarship by the various School Principals Headmasters/Headmistress. They included girls from Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools in the Chiefdom.
The Chairman of the District’s branch of the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union (SLTU) later organized a photographic session of Blyden with teachers and pupils. Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has since returned back to Freetown from the Eastern Kailahun District but her love for the people of Kailahun especially Jawei Chiefdom continues to be on the lips of many here in Eastern Sierra Leone.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.