The Byseee School and Community Project
Since 2020, Catholic Women Speak has been supporting the Byseee School and community project in Freetown, Sierra Leone, run by CWS members Yema Jusufu and Edita Fofana. We are committed to sending £300 every month, which helps to provide the children with one school lunch a week, as well as contributing towards salaries, maintenance, supplies, and running costs. Find out more.
All our funding for the Byseee Project comes from CWS supporters and associates. We collect through JustGiving, and 100% of all money donated is sent to the project via Western Union. There are no deductions for overheads, which are covered separately.
Thank you again to all our supporters, whose generosity enables us to express our solidarity through financial support for this project. CWS member Yema Jusufu left religious life in the United States to continue the work her mother started in establishing the Byseee School and Community Project, which aims to support children through a holistic Catholic education, especially girls, so that they are able to contribute to the rebuilding of a country ravaged by civil war, violence and poverty.
Yema writes: "See them enjoying. They are cute. Today is traditional food called "Culture". Cooked with rice, fish, palm oil, pepper, onions and seasonings. Very tasty."
In the coming year, we plan to continue our monthly contribution of £300. This goes towards a weekly lunch for the children, who often arrive at school hungry, and it helps with the purchase of supplies and uniforms.
Last year we raised funds to buy computers for the school, thanks to the generous support of the Ursuline High School in Wimbledon. Children going on to high school are able to acquire important IT skills to help with their studies. We have also in the past funded the installation of a well, which provides clean drinking water for the school and its community.
This year we hope to fund solar panels so that the school is not dependent on the city's unreliable power supply.
News updates and videos
A holistic Catholic education for girls
The school, which comes under the auspices of St Peter the Rock Parish in Calaba town in Freetown, offers a wide range of educational and care facilities to women and children, particularly orphans, girls from broken homes, and single mothers. While the school takes some boys as well as girls, its main focus is on educating girls to give them a sense of personal dignity and self-esteem after the traumas of war and amidst the ongoing challenges of poverty, violence and abuse.
When asked to explain the puzzling spelling of the name "Byseee", Yema wrote that their late mother was asked to start a girls' school by parents in the community. She had six children - three girls and three boys - and she used the initials of each of her children to name the school:
Bernadette - Yema - Sydney - Edward - Elis - Edita = Byseee
A well for drinking water
In addition to helping with salaries, maintenance, and learning materials, our monthly contributions have funded the digging of a well that provides clean drinking water to the school and the community.
The children often arrive at school without having eaten. We fund one free school lunch a week. If we could attract more donations, we would increase this to two lunches a week.
Our Partnership with Ursuline High School, Wimbledon
Thanks to generous funding from Ursuline High School in London, Wimbledon, we have been able to provide the school with computers so that girls can learn IT skills before going to high school. The picture shows the cramped space with only a few computers for all the students. The facilities are currently being updated.