Now in its nineteenth year, our Prep School pupils were as eager as ever to get involved with this year’s Year 8 Fête, continuing our tradition of raising funds for the Rogbonko Village Project.

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When Aminatta Forna returned in 2002, the devastating effects of the 1991 Sierra Leone Civil War had consumed the once-thriving community of Rogbonko.

Rogbonko, which translates to ‘the place in the forest’ in Temne, is a village that was founded by Aminatta’s grandfather, Pa Roke Forna, in the 1920s. Pa Roke established and ran a successful coffee plantation in Rogbonko for around half a century and, like the coffee trees there, the village flourished.

By the mid-seventies, however, everything had changed. Aminatta’s grandfather passed away in 1976 and after many years of opposition to the Sierra Leone government, of which he was once the Minister of Finance, Aminatta’s father was detained on several occasions. He finally faced trial on a fabricated charge of treason and was executed by the Sierra Leone government in 1975 along with five other men who were also similarly charged.

In the years of economic decline and war that followed, the people of Rogbonko were desperate for change and a route out of poverty. A single whole village meeting was held in the December of 2002 to discuss what could be done to change the village’s destitute circumstances. The result of this meeting saw the creation of the Rogbonko Village Project and the first item on the agenda was to build a school.

No time was wasted as less than three weeks after the meeting in December 2002, the door of the bamboo-constructed, thatch-roofed school building swung open for the first time on January 15th 2003.

Since then, the Rogbonko Village Project has expanded well beyond its humble beginnings. Education, infrastructure and health are at the backbone of a village-wide effort to climb out of poverty.

Framlingham College Prep School has been a chief benefactor of the Rogbonko Village School for nearly 20 years now. The Prep School has watched the school transform from its single classroom and one teacher outset to where it is today; a five-classroom building complete with a library and solar power – the first electricity to reach Rogbonko – and over 200 pupils.

As has been the case for the last 19 years, our Year 8 pupils were as motivated as ever to continue the long-standing tradition of organising and running the much-loved Year 8 Fête for the Year 7s and below to help raise funds for the Rogbonko Village Project. Sounds of children chortling and giggling on the back field as they painted nails, soaked and threw wet soapy sponges at their teachers (and themselves) and mixed mocktails echoed through the air on Thursday afternoon.

We received communication from the Rogbonko Village School Trust in February 2022 that highlighted the areas of the school in which last year’s funds of £1332.28 had been spent. The first-year pupils received brand new benches and desks. They had been using hand-me-downs which had finally seen their last days of practical use. The money also funded much-needed, timely repairs to the school building roof ahead of the annual rains. The trust was able to buy all the necessary materials and tools as well as the skills of a master carpenter to carry out the work.

This year, we’re pleased to reveal that the Year 8 Fête raised a total of £1128.94.

If you would like to donate to the Rogbonko Village School Trust, you can do so by visiting their JustGiving page.

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