The Project Coordinator for the Government of Japan’s foreign aid scheme called ‘Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects’, or GGP, paid a one day working visit to the University of Makeni on 14 April 2011.
Sr Mary Sweeney with Seiko Tomizawa at the Fatima campus
Project Coordinator, Seiko Tomizawa, said that the aim of this visit was to assess at first hand UNIMAK’s learning facilities, and the plans to provide space to accommodate a school for visually impaired children – covering both nursery and primary ages, and including a dormitory. She further disclosed that her visit was to explore ways that her organisation will partner with UNIMAK in supporting the Special Education programme so as to train teachers to assist physically challenged children in the country.
Ms Tomizawa explained that the government of Japan offers financial assistance to meet the diverse basic human needs of the people in developing countries: “This scheme supports projects implemented by non-profit organizations such as NGOs, educational and medical institutes, who are eligible to receive foreign funds under the relevant law of the Government of Sierra Leone. This is why I’m here to see how best we could work in partnership with UNIMAK to achieve our organisation’s objectives in supporting children with disabilities,” she added.
The Acting Vice Chancellor, Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Turay in his welcome statement expressed thanks and appreciation for the good will gesture that the Japanese Embassy is extending to UNIMAK’s Special Education department, emphasizing that this will help promote and facilitate the practical and outreach programmes through the teaching practice programme. “The school for the visually impaired will serve not only for teaching experience for their students but also help to educate the physically challenged so as to become useful contributors to the country’s development.”
“What makes UNIMAK special is that it deals directly with the local communities through its outreach programmes at grass roots level. We are looking forward to receiving grants that would eventually make a difference in the life of the underprivileged in this friendly country,” Dr. Turay added.
Sister Mary Sweeney, Head of the Special Education Department at the University of Makeni, expressed her hope that the Nursery and Primary school project planned to accommodate ninety visually impaired pupils, and the dormitory planned for 30 boys and girls, funded by Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects, will provide appropriate and effective education to people with disabilities so they have a chance to fully function in society.
A tour of the project site near St. Francis Secondary School, Makeni, and the School for the Blind in nearby Panlap, formed part of the one day working visit. The picture shows Sr Mary Sweeney talking with Seiko Tomizawa at the Fatima Campus.