By KABS KANU :
They stole the show during the 50th Independence Celebrations parade at the National Stadium in Freetown where everybody at the presidential pavilion stood up and cheered them as their float passed. And when President Ernest Bai Koroma visited New Jersey on Saturday September 24, they did it again , winning the plaudits during the presidential banquet at the Ukranian Cultural Centre in Franklin Township , Somerset. The barely one-year -old MEALS FOR SCHOOLS Program, which has won the support of Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad was the toast of the presidential banquet where they made an exciting presence and also handed a plaque of appreciation to President Ernest Koroma.
THE MEALS FOR SCHOOL BANNER PARADED IN THE HALL
The Meals For Schools program was founded by the Publisher of the NEWSTIME AFRICA newspaper , Mr. Ahmed M. Kamara, last year to provide food for schoolchildren in Sierra Leone who go to class hungry. In explaining the mission of the project to the media , the former Director of the project, Mr. Abdul Bero Kamara wrote :
MADAM MARIE SALIM PRESENTING THE PLAQUE TO PRESIDENT KOROMA
“Most school children in Sierra Leone go to school every day without eating breakfast, and they stay for eight hours or more for the day extremely hungry, Concentration level in class as you know in such circumstances can be practically zero. Fighting the stress of hunger deprives anyone of serious attention. For our school children to learn, they need to stay hunger-free, thus eating a healthy school meal is a great foundation for a child’s education and future health. It is against this background the Sierra Leone Meals for School Campaign project was launched to make a difference in the lives of the underprivileged school children. ”
The Meals For Schools idea soon caught fire among Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora and within the short time of its existence, these are some of the names of the members ;Mrs Isha Timbo-Nwokedi, Mr Abdul Bero Kamara , Mr Rashid Bangura , Mr Essa Thaim Kurugba , Mr Ibrahim Sesay , Mr Ahmed Kanu, Mr Arolyn I Koroma , Mr Henry A Kamara , Ms Marie Salim , Mrs Kadie Kargbo , Miss Geneva Anthony , Miss Abie Daramy , Mr Foday Morris Ceesay ,Mr Unisa“Thollu” CONTEH , Mr Gibriel “SOGO TRAIN” , Miss Nanette Thomas , Miss Zuliatu Cooper , Mr Abu Bakarr Kanu , Dr Issa Turay ,Ms. Madina Rahman, Mr. Leslie Allen, Mr. Wilfred Kabs-Kanu etc etc.
During the Presidential Banquet, the MEALS FOR SCHOOLS Project was officially introduced to President Ernest Bai Koroma , at the head of a huge government delegation that included 1o ambassadors, 5 ministers of government and many other public officers. Doing the introduction was Ms.Abibatu Daramy , who explained the goal of the organization and the whole hall reverberated with cheers when Madam Daramy unveiled how the organization planned to end hunger in schoolchildren in Sierra Leone. The hall cheered again when she said that during the last Jubilee parade in Freetown, MEALS FOR SCHOOLS fed hundreds of children at the National Stadium.
The MEALS OF SCHOOLS, demonstrating their commitment to the socio-economic and political developments going on in Sierra Leone , presented a plaque of appreciation to President Ernest Koroma for his inspiring and transformational leadership in Sierra Leone. The President of the Project, Madam Marie Salim presented the plaque to President Koroma on behalf of MEALS FOR SCHOOLS.