Their Long Walk to School


For Duramany and Mikailu, getting to school is quite a committment. They leave the village of Mokpangumba in Sierra Leone just after dawn to cross a river in a dugout canoe, then walk for about an hour through jungle and farmland to reach the Children of the Nations (COTN) junior secondary school in time for class.

This long walk is the reason COTN started a satellite primary school in their village, so younger children wouldn't have to travel so far. It's also the reason people like you have partnered with the people of Mokpangumba to build a permanent school structure

One day, students like Duramany and Mikailu won't have to spend two hours walking and canoeing to make it to class and back. But until that day, their determination to finish their education keeps them walking back and forth every day, rain or shine.

Here's what their walk home from school looks like:

  Mikaiu (front) and Durumany start walking from COTN's main school at around 2 p.m., when junior secondary school is dismissed. 

Their walk takes them through Ngolala Junction, the village next to COTN's ministry site, which has exploded in size since COTN moved to this area. Since COTN's school is the only one in the region, many families who lived even farther than Duramany and Mikailu's ended up moving to Ngolala Junction so their children could attend school.

They then pass through COTN's farm, and over several makeshift bridges through the rice fields. In the wet season, they have to take an even longer route because the fields are too muddy to walk through.

The small path is maintained by the people of Ngolala up to a certain point, and then by the people of Mokpangumba, up to their village. Few people walk this road in the heat of the day, so running into people is rare. These are the only other people Duramany and Mikailu saw on this trip.

The dry season is setting in, browning the long grass that surrounds the path. Duramany and Mikailu use their long walk to quiz eachother on spelling, and sing some songs they learned in school that day. 

On the way, they pass through cassava farms, and look for small shoots by the side of the road that they can snack on as they walk. 

               Some of the only shade on the route comes right at the end—when the river is finally in sight!

After an hour of walking, the boys arrive at the river. Down on the bank, they rest while they wait for their ride—a dugout canoe.

The boys smile as they wait for their boat. "It is a very long walk," Duramany says, "but it is worth it because I am getting an education. I will be the first in my family to finish school, and I will help my family improve their lives."

At last their ride arrives. Mr. Foday, the head teacher at COTN's primary school in Mokpangumba, comes to get them every day, to encourage them in their efforts to continue school.

                                                        A quick turnaround, and the boys are off!

                                       Bye! And thank you for doing your part to help us get educated!

Duramany needs another sponsor to help him complete his education. Will you help him become the first in his family to graduate high school? Sponsor Duramany, or sponsor another child in need today!


Durmany, the boy in the blue shirt, needs another sponsor. This is a great story about him and so true about many of our children in Sierra Leone.

Thanks Tami! So... who wants to sponsor him?