A charity set up in memory of a generous Harborough woman in Sierra Leone has acquired new premises.
When the late Dorothy Springer funded a West African man’s education in the UK, it sparked a chain of events that led to the opening of the new premises of the DST Sierra Leone charity that took place last month.
Dr Abdulai Dambuya had his college and university education paid for by Dorothy Springer. He went on to gain a PHD.
Dorothy had secretly funded his education, and when Abdulai, who suffered from polio as a child, learned what Dorothy had done for him, following her death in 2003, he was so overwhelmed by her kindness that he set up the charity in her name to help people in Sierra Leone.
The Dorothy Springer Trust (DST) has an aim of promoting the training and employment of disabled people in Sierra Leone by means of ICT.
In 2010 the DST Sierra Leone charity was launched which recognised a need for training as well as for the need for the equipment that people could train on.
DST SL Has now acquired its own premises in the centre of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. STudents there will now be able to follow a basic course ‘in house’ and then attend colleges in the area once they are able to progress to more advanced courses.
The students however will still be able to use the facilities in the charity’s office for practice where there will be trained staff on hand to guide them.
Margaret Atkins, Dorothy’s daughter was there at the opening of the new premises.
She said: “Thanks to the efforts of our CEO and founder, Dr Abdulai Dumbuya, the office has been magnificently renovated, providing ramp access to one side of the building in addition to the front steps.
“It is well-equipped and also includes an internet cafe, coffee bar and conference room. Hopefully, the income generated will eventually enable the premises to be self sufficient, so that all donations can be devoted to the disabled students.”
Since the charity launched four years ago, several students have successfully gained employment, including four who have joined the Sierra Leone police force and who are now working in communications and planning.
The opening of the new premises took place on Friday, February 7 and it was attended by more than 150 people, including local dignitaries.
Among these dignitaries was the chairman and chief commissioner of the National Commission for Persons with Disability, representatives from a number of embassies and High Commissions, a team of supporters from the UK and some of the successful students who had been helped by the charity.
The plaque at the new premises of the charity was unveiled by the deputy minister for social welfare, Hon Mustapha Bai Atilla.
Margaret Atkins cut the ribbon at the front entrance of the new office for the DST SL charity.