The organisation

The Board

The Board is involved on a voluntary basis and as such is never paid for their work.

Sjierly Pereira – Chair
Desmond Awoonor – Gordon
Harm Beskers

Desmond Awoonor – Gordon

I initially joined Schooling for Life (SfL) as the Programme Manager in 2014 when it was setting up its office in Sierra Leone. I left the United Kingdom where I live and worked closely with Sjierly to ensure that the SfL team subscribed with her ideology of creating an environment for sustainable and participatory educational growth within the vocational sector by recruiting Trainers and Students as the first cohort for SfL. When the opportunity became available to be part of the board, I jumped at the chance to formally continue to support Sjierly and the organisation and to help create a generation of youth that are highly capable and professional that will bear the envious SfL kite mark of being educated to qualifying standards and amongst the most prosperous workforce in Sierra Leone.

Harm Beskers

I have been involved with Schooling for Life almost from the get go. I am passionate about Sierra Leone it’s people and culture and have lived in Sierra Leone on and off for a period of ten years. Personally I believe development starts from within, and with that education is a vital component of development. Having worked in the NGO sector for ten years I have seen that short term programming and capacity building does little to nothing to help the ‘participant’ When I heard about the Schooling for Life programme I was immediately enthusiastic and worked alongside Sjierly for years to get the organization off the ground and off flying to Salone. I currently work in the hectic Amsterdam real estate market, but am also still involved as a board member to SfL and am keeping an keen eye on how the organization and its students are developing.


Paid staff (Sierra Leone)

Sjierly Pereira

Sjierly Pereira – Founder & Country Director

My name is Sjierly Pereira and I am the founder and Country Director of Schooling for Life. During my study Pedagogical Science, I became very interested in post-conflict countries and especially the influence such situations have on the development of children. For my Master Children’s Rights, I chose to go to Sierra Leone to research the future perspectives of youth there. The experience was even more impressive than I could have hoped and I fell in love with the country and the people.

I have always felt that it shouldn’t matter where you are born to be able to have an equal opportunity to fulfil your potential. I am a great proponent of equal rights and opportunities, and I feel the desire to help people to get what they deserve. Especially if they are trying but external factors are working against them. That is why I set up Schooling for Life: many youth I met in Sierra Leone were greatly inspiring; hardworking, full of ambition but without the means and guidance to fulfil their dreams. Schooling for Life will not only help youth fulfil their dreams, ambitions and potential but hopefully create a domino effect of knowledge and development.

Sjierly is living in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to implement and lead the Skills for a Successful Future programme. She is part of the paid staff there.

Mohamed Nabieu

Mohamed Nabieu – Office/Admin assistant

My name is Mohamed Nabieu, I have a BSc (hons) degree in Sociology and I have been the Administrative Assistant of Schooling for Life since July 2016. My main responsibility is to make sure that the office runs smoothly and to support in all administrative matters. I also coordinate contact between Schooling for Life and the students and their guardians, among many other things.

During my final year in college, I became highly interested in working with young people and their employment status. My former job did not provide me this opportunity until I read about Schooling for Life and the things they do, so I immediately applied. As a Marxist, I believe that for any social system to survive, the determinant comes from the Base not the superstructure. To me, the Base is the youth With the right education and training, the youth will make my country a better place for us all.

I really enjoy working with Schooling for Life. The fact is that for the first time I have the right answer to the biggest question in my final year project work: “How do you tackle unemployment among youth?”, simple: “Give them Skills for a Successful Future”. Secondly, on a daily basis at Schooling for Life, I get in touch with a group of really talented and motivated young Sierra Leoneans who for financial reasons lack the ability to show case their prowess to the society.

Edward Isaac Ghina Massaquoi

Edward Isaac Ghina Massaquoi – Senior Financial Officer


My name is Edward Isaac Ghina Massaquoi and I am the Senior Financial Officer for Schooling for Life in Sierra Leone. I am responsible for the preparation of the accounts, to give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the organisation on an on-going basis by compiling and analysing financial information and by preparing financial statements including quarterly and annual reports. I also ensure financial records are maintained in compliance with accepted policies and procedures so that all financial reporting deadlines are met.

Jestina Simba

Jestina Simba – Programme Coordinator / Trainer of Trainers


My Name is Jestina Simba and I am the Programme Coordinator/Trainer of Trainers at Schooling for Life. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree with honours in Sociology (Bsc Honour’s) from Njala University and I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Development Management at the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM).

I have experience in coordinating and implementing youth development activities and programmes in Peace Building Education and Advocacy (PBEA), Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRH&R), Community Livelihoods Empowerment for Ebola Women Survivors and currently gaining experience in the Skills for a Successful Future programme.

I am a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) programme established by the US President Barack Obama.
I have passion to work with Schooling for Life because I enjoy working with youths and women that are less privileged and vulnerable, contributing towards their peaceful development in Sierra Leone.

Memuna Kargbo

Memuna Kargbo – Guidance Counsellor / Programme Assistant


Hi, my name is Memuna Kargbo. In my previous positions, I was able to utilize my passion and skills for counseling, psychosocial support, crisis intervention/ management, advocacy, community development and program management.

I am the Guidance Counselor and Program Assistant at Schooling for Life. I offer individual guidance counseling sessions to students that are focused on (but not limited to) personal development, character building, teaching goal achievement, education progress evaluation, general conduct and personal support in everyday constraints. I also assist with the smooth running of the Skills for a Successful Future program.

I chose to work for Schooling for Life because I believe small changes can lead to bigger transformations, and this organization’s mission will fill a gap and contribute to a better nation.

Volunteers (The Netherlands)

As mentioned before: none of the volunteers are paid for their work for Schooling for Life.

Barbara Heutink

Barbara Heutink – Social Media manager


My name is Barbara Heutink. I’m working as a communications consultant in daily life, but I have still some time left that I want to dedicate to volunteer work at an organisation with a mission, I decided to apply with Schooling for Life. I always had the opportunity to study and enjoyed every minute of it. I believe that everyone should have access to education, as it is the most powerful weapon to change the world. I am very happy to be a part of the Schooling for Life-family and raise awareness through Social Media.

Dries Arnolds

Dries Arnolds – Website manager


My name is Dries Arnolds, I run a web development business and I’m very passionate about websites and web-technology. My aim with every website is to make it as good as it possibly can be. I joined Schooling for Life because I was looking for volunteer work for some time. After I read about the aims and methods I was convinced this was the organisation I wanted to help achieve its goals. I hope I can help Schooling for Life achieve great things and make a change in its field.