The Young Learner


Discovery Summer funded the construction of a Primary and Junior High schools for 800+ children in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in conjunction with ActionAid

Kola Tree class
Kola Tree class
Kola Tree class
Kola Tree class


Discovery Summer has now invited Rising Academies to work with the Principals to improve the governance, curriculum and to work with the team of teachers to raise quality. The aim is to encourage both girls and boys to stay on for secondary education, and to make sure that they develop the thinking skills necessary to take them on to further education and an exciting career path.

Through great curriculum, intensive teacher coaching and actionable data, Rising Academies help teachers and school leaders bring quality to every classroom. And it works: independent studies show Rising students make more than twice the progress of their peers in comparable schools.


Discovery Summer is proud to have rebuilt the Kola Tree Community Primary School, in September 2010, with ActionAid as partners to oversee the project locally.

Two years later a much-needed Junior High School was built in the same compound. They now have a total of 12 classrooms, an administration building for staff, a library, two separate wells for fresh drinking water - and girls' and boys' toilets. Over 800 children how receive education that they would otherwise have been denied. And the school is getting good results each year in the Government exams.

Due to the success of the schools, land encroachment became a problem, so we recently supported the community further by building a perimeter wall around the school compound. This ensures the safety and wellbeing of all the children attending the schools.


Making a statement on behalf of the community, the community development committee chairperson Mama Fatu Sesay, highlighted how the school started

"Today is the happiest day in my life. For a very long time, we never had a school in this community. Children used to attend school in other communities. In the early 90s one mission set up a church in an unfinished building in the community. After some negotiations with the mission we were allowed to use the building as a non-formal school. We started with 30 children and were running the school from community contributions. We also hired one teacher. The mission attempted to take over the running of the school but could not continue because of lack of funds. So the school closed down in 1994.

Around 1995, CADO, with support from ActionAid, came and trained community animators on the use of participatory tools. Using these tools, we all came to an agreement that the school was our priority need. We took over an old poultry shed and set up a second school. We had many challenges such as the lack of furniture and learning materials. Children were asked to come with benches from their homes. This time, we employed two trained and qualified teachers because the number was increasing and we wanted to gain recognition from the Government. The school suffered another setback when the rebels attacked in 1999; the school was completely vandalised and the head teacher killed. We had to close again. We were able to start all over again in 2000 when ActionAid supported us with construction, teaching and learning materials. Since then we started pushing for government recognition and support. The other serious problem we had was the non availability of land for school construction. We had to organise ourselves as community people and met the Minister of Lands who later gave us a portion of land where this school stands today.

I nearly burst into tears when ActionAid in 2009 said they had secured funding for the construction of the first school in my community. Now that both schools are completed I feel very proud because all our efforts for the past years have yielded fruit. Our children can now access free and quality education. As a member of the School Management Committee, we will monitor the teachers so that they can teach the children well, as well as ensuring that all children in this community go to school. We are going to work with the councillor and chief to see that this happens. Thanks to ActionAid and Discovery Summer for the wonderful opportunity given to this community."


Fundraising at Discovery Summer Centres

In order to support the schools and the local community, Discovery Summer centres undertake ambitious fundraising efforts each summer. Some organise charity fundraising days, others donate proceeds from their tuck shop, create magazines to sell to parents as well as organising many other imaginative fundraising events. The funds raised are then matched by Discovery Summer.

What are the funds needed for?

Each year we consult the Kola Tree Headmaster and community. Most recently, funds have gone towards:

  • Scholarships to pay for school uniforms, books and stationery for children who would otherwise be unable to attend the Primary School
  • Scholarships to enable girls to continue from Primary to Secondary School
  • Giving seed finance to families to set up small-scale businesses in the community. This allows the children to go to school rather than earn money from selling on the street
  • Support towards teacher training. This is vital to improve the learning experience for the children.

Target for 2022

Discovery Summer regularly engages with the local community to find out what they most need to support education in the Kola Tree Community.

Our target for 2022 is to raise £10,000.

If you would like to donate to this very worthwhile cause, please contact us.

16% Funded
£1,640 Raised
Days to Go
38 Sponsors