The excitement is big. Father Peter Konteh, director of the Desert Flower Foundation in Sierra Leone, has sent us new pictures and videos of the construction of our first "Desert Flower School" in River Number 2 near the capital Freetown. While the last work is still being done, the children are rehearsing the grand opening of their new school.
The project is the heart of our big educational initiative in Africa. Why do we get involved in Sierra Leone? The West African state is one of the poorest countries in the world after the civil war and the Ebola epidemic. The illiteracy rate is 70 percent, with women being worst affected.
The Desert Flower Foundation is building a total of three "Desert Flower Schools" in Sierra Leone. For our founder, Waris Dirie, this is a lifetime dream come true. "I always wanted to give girls in Africa access to education. A lack of education sets limits. Without education you have no life and no future. Especially not as a girl in Africa. I want to strengthen girls and women because they are the backbone of Africa," says Waris Dirie.
Our first school will be called "Kiera Chaplin School". Why? The top model and granddaughter of the unforgettable Charlie Chaplin has joined us, actively supports the education initiative and acts as godmother of the first "Desert Flower School".