Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Teacher Supporting Sierra Leone Schools

A Pioneer State High School teacher has put the call out, requesting donations of recyclable, reusable and refurbished school materials to send to his home country of Sierra Leone.

Mohamed Johnson-Kanu left Sierra Leone in 2000 and is determined to help his country with basic necessities.

“We’ve been ravaged by war for nearly 10-12 years; maiming and killing people unnecessarily, mutilating them alive,” Mr Johnson-Kanu said.

“I was one of the most fortunate, I survived the Rebel War.”

With the help of a friend, Mr Johnson-Kanu attained a teaching contract in Papua New Guinea, leaving Sierra Leone before his daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2002 and moved to Brisbane for treatment.

“That was the first time we came in contact with Australia,” he said.

Being a physics and maths teacher, Mr Johnson-Kanu’s skills were in high demand getting a job in Middlemount not long after.

His long teaching career also took him to Moranbah, Toowoomba and even Kazakhstan before he settled in Mackay.

“Every year, in all the schools that I’ve been to, they are just throwing books in the bin, chairs, stools, desks,” Mr Johnson-Kanu.

“Last year, I stood there watching, it was raining that day, I felt so bad.

“All of this stuff, our people, the students, they don’t have it.”

Mr Johnson-Kanu rallied some of his students, collected and dried the books and thus started a collection of items he hopes to send back to schools in Sierra Leone.

“I said, ‘I’m going to do something now so that this kind of waste will stop,’” he said.

“My people, the students back home, they don’t have anything.

“They are far behind.”

Mr Johnson-Kanu has contacted primary and secondary schools throughout the region, as well as Mackay Regional Council, requesting school supplies such as textbooks, novels, furniture, computers, filing cabinets and other resources.

He is also hoping to raise money to purchase a shipping container to transport the items.

“The schoolchildren, who are unable to pursue a proper education, would benefit from these donations as these items would give them a second chance at life and better their future and community,” he said.

Anyone interested in assisting is asked to contact Mr Johnson-Kanu on 0418 402 000 or email

Mabinty Marion and Mohamed Johnson-Kanu. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie

Mohamed’s primary school in the Sierra Leone village of Gbainty Wallah. Photo supplied

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