Since her return to the UK in June 2012 when Dr. Jane Bentham had worked at Services Secondary School, Juba, in Sierra Leone, she has been working hard to continue her work for Extra Mile, by raising funds for its work in this small West African republic. Having been given leave from Salford City College to undertake the two week programme, she now has caught the imagination of both staff and students in the ‘SCC Bake-Off’, with departmental staff competing against each other to bake the ‘best’ cakes and raising hundreds of pounds in the process. Also, in December, she inspired students to organize and run a ‘Suit-You’ Day, where smartly dressed, (shirt, tie, full-length dresses) students collected more than £150 from the very generous college donors. Even Jane’s family decided to cease sending Christmas cards, preferring to donate their value to Extra Mile, and exchanging Christmas greetings via email! Jane’s Chemistry and Biology classes seemed to get larger and larger with each day she was there and with no power, gas, water or any decent equipment and only a few, outdated chemicals, she still managed to deliver some truly amazing lessons. She bequeathed her mini whiteboards to the school and left her laminated resources to science colleagues. As she plans her next programme, she feels that several of her 18 year old students would both benefit and appreciate the challenges of trying to help similar aged pupils still struggling with their senior studies, but in decidedly different circumstances than their own. Everyone; both staff and pupils were so grateful for her being there and gave her an incredible farewell assembly and a firm invitation to return as soon as she was able. We look forward to working with Jane again in the future.
Extra Mile is a UK registered Charity helping to bring education to the street children of Sierra Leone. Its ongoing mission is to recruit volunteers to teach in English-speaking schools, help train its teachers and open to run its own free school.