“Education without discrimination”. This is the motto of MARIAN PLEASANT KARGBO and her Pleasant Children’s Foundation – a volunteer-led organisation that provides education and school equipment to less privileged children in Sierra Leone. Marian is also a member of Freetown Cluster. Here’s some of her story. What motivates your work? My parents faced a lot of financial challenges to send me to school, but they did their best. As I grew up I vowed to help less privileged kids get an education. When we later moved to a rural area west of Freetown, I saw that many parents simply didn’t have the resources to send their kids to school, and so they sent them to work at a market or to mine sand instead. That year I pledged to send ten kids to school, which I did. The following year I sent thirty to school. And in 2017 we as an organsation sent seventy to school. And then just this year we launched a campaign and sent two hundred kids to school! That must feel great! It does. It’s all been down to hard work, determination and the favour of God. It’s a dream come true, although challenging I must say. How did you first hear about the Cluster? My cousin invited me to a meeting. I went along to observe, but upon hearing what the Cluster was all about I grew love for it especially the idea of mobilising community members to do things for themselves. What are your hopes for the Cluster? That everyone believes in the Cluster model, and that we make a mark not only Freetown, but the whole of Sierra Leone. We can achieve a lot, especially in the area of community mobilisation. I also think a successful Cluster can help with my own aims which are to increase the number of kids in education and even engage in fundraising to build schools. Joint Cluster activity of this kind will be great.
What does 'community mobilisation' mean to you? It's about bringing a community together in order for them to do their own work in their communities. It's about a community becoming involved in shaping its future. How does the wider network support you? I’ve benefitted from Arukah Network’s training, especially the communications and advocacy course that was piloted here. Report-writing was a major difficulty for me in the past, but with the STAR method it’s now much easier. Also the fact that the wider network is always there to promote my work through the website and social media – I feel so honoured to be part of this wonderful network. How do you relax when you're not working? I watch movies, go the beach and engage myself in social media especially Facebook and WhatsApp.