The men and women of RFA Argus have raised thousands of pounds and delivered gifts to orphans at a school in Sierra Leone.
A Merlin helicopter from 820 Naval Air Squadron dropped in on the EducAid School to deliver clothing donated by well wishers back in the UK including Pro-Direct, an internet sports company that sent 6 boxes of new sports equipment including football shirts, studless boots and tracksuits.
Since deploying last October the ship, and her embarked forces, have also been fundraising and amassed nearly £7,000, some of which has helped the school buy a desperately needed generator. It now means that students can study in the evening when candles are banned due to the risk of fire.
One of those landing at the school to distribute the equipment was Petty Officer (Physical Training Instructor) Mikey Graham, who led the youngsters through a series of arranged games.
Petty Officer Griffith said: “The visit went better than I could have ever imagined and we all had a truly magical day. Everyone involved has made new friends and taken away so many special memories that will last a lifetime.
“For me it was a real privilege to speak with Alusine, a former EducAid student, and hear the story of his involvement with this great charity which has shaped the future of so many children against the odds. His personal account inspired me.”
Losing both of his parents when he was young Alusine Baimba was taken in by Miriam and EducAid and given a new family, home and education.
“Without the help and advice of Miriam I wouldn’t have had an education,” Alusine said.
“After my college teacher training course supported by EducAid I plan to help the little ones build their futures to become a better somebody.”
The Argus visit to the school in Port Loko has helped strengthen relations between the local community and the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
The UK military deployment to Sierra Leone continues and is part of a wider humanitarian aid program led by the Department for International Development (DfID) and involving non-government organisations supporting the Government of Sierra Leone and their Armed Forces.