By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Orange Foundation Sierra Leone in collaboration with ST Foundation on Tuesday 17th November , 2021 launched its Super Coders Scratch Programme at the Holy Family Secondary School Hall , East of Freetown.
Speaking during the launch, the Vice Principal of the Holy Family Junior Secondary School, Victoria J. Sesay expressed thanks and appreciation to Orange Foundation for choosing her school for the super coders programme stating that the launch of the super coders programme in her school will enable her school to be well known in the country.
She said that most of the pupils in the school are not computer literate stating that the coders programme will help them to understand how to use computer and therefore urged them to take the initiative seriously as it will help them in the future.
“Thank you once again to the Orange management that you have come today to teach our pupils about the essence of learning computer and the coders programme. We are very grateful,” she said.
Madam Sesay promised Orange that they will use the facilities very well for its intended purpose thus urging the pupils to make use of the internet especially search engines like Google as it will help them in their studies whenever they are having assignments or research work to do pointing out that social media is not just about using whatsApp and Facebook as most students do.
Director ST Foundation Mohamed M. Dumbuya on his part said that Orange Sierra Leone and the ST Foundation are partners in development stating that the Holy Family School were lucky to be part of the twenty (20) or more schools that have benefitted from the super coders programme.
‘’Ladies and gentlemen in 2013, we established a lab here in your school for you the pupils of this school and your staffs. We trained them to be literate in computer. This trend is still continuing up till today, and with Orange Foundation coming in by giving and subscribing to the scratch super coders programme for pupils in Sierra Leone. I want to say your school is lucky to be part of the 20 and more schools to benefit from this super coders programme in Sierra Leone,’’ he said.
He said that the computer lab is well equipped with laptop computers; a 24 hours electricity supply has been installed in the lab which is powered by a solar energy in order to ensure full electricity in the facility thus encouraging the kids to make use of the computer lab facility citing that the world today been computer literate is very useful and an important skill for the job market.
‘’You are not only going to benefit from the scratch super coders programme, but also ST Foundation Informatics basic computer programme . At the end of the completion of the two courses, you will be receiving two certificates. One from Orange Foundation Sierra Leone and the next one from ST Foundation Sierra Leone,’’ Dumbuya added.
The ST Foundation Director added that the programme is free for the pupils as both Orange Foundation and ST Foundation have paid for it thus called on the kids to contacts the foundation should any one asked them for a fee in the process.
‘’ It is free for everyone, Ladies I want you to grab this opportunity highly because another project is on its way heading for this school sponsored UNICEF Sierra Leone,’’
Speaking on behalf of the CEO of Orange Sierra Leone, HR Director Agnes Songa said that, in August 2018, the company pledged the sum of 1.5 million United States Dollars as a proposed package to support the government free quality education agenda in the country adding that the material support package is being implemented over a period of five years for corporate social responsibility actions through the company’s Foundation.
‘’We developed 5 key projects such as the solar kits for school children , distribution of hygiene packs for girls in upper primary and senior secondary schools, inter secondary competition for which the winning school stands to gain a fully furnished computer lab to be provided by Orange, among other projects ,’’ she said.
She added that in 2019, they started implementing the super scratch programme and the menstrual hygiene packs before the advent of the Covid- 19 pandemic which she said caused the closure of schools stating it was difficult for them as a company to continue with the project implementation as the beneficiaries were all home.
‘’ The launch of the FQE Super Coders Scratch project today will once more demonstrate Orange’s commitment to its corporate social responsibility programs outlined as Orange Sierra Leone Foundation’s contribution towards the Government Free Quality education Project . As an institution, we are currently working with our implementing partners, ministry of Basic Education, STEM, UNICEF, ST Foundation and DSTI to ensure seamless roll out of the FQE project. In conclusion I want to take this opportunity to thank our partners for their commitment in ensuring that this project is implemented to its fullest,’’ Madam Agnes Songa noted.
Madam Songa further noted that in January 2021, the company created and launched the Orange Foundation which she said is operating like a Non- governmental organization that is responsible for their external corporate social responsibility adding that the foundations stands on 3 main pillars; education , health, culture, women , Girl child and youth in the country .
‘’We create social change in communities and in the lives of individuals because we care and are called to care,’’ the HR Director boasted.