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a very special relationship

Sierra Leone is nestled along the western coast of Africa. It is home to 6.5 million people. Having risen from a decade-long civil war and braved the most recent Ebola epidemic, the people of Sierra Leone are strong and resilient. The landscape of this tropical country is beautiful and teaming with life. However, as a result of the crippling war, daily life for the people of this nation can be challenging. The typical 24 year old in Sierra Leone has an average of only 3 years of schooling. While the current literacy rate is 48% and on the rise, access to quality education and healthcare remain a challenge. There has been peace in the country for the last 17 years but the rebuilding of Sierra Leone's human resources has been slow. Education is a critical component.  

For the past 14 years, through the vision and inspiration of Tiffany Persons, SHINE ON Sierra Leone has provided a free and rich education for students who otherwise would not be able to attend school. Shine On's Muddy Lotus Primary School is the flagship and educational home of 298 bright and enthusiastic


students.  At the center of Muddy Lotus is the underlying objective for every student to have a strong, proactive, and healthy sense of self while learning to become stewards of the world. MLPS embodies a unique learning philosophy, in alignment with The Sycamore School, which fosters an engaging and genuine approach to skill development, empowering each individual at their core.  

Sycamore School and Muddy Lotus are creating a powerful cultural exchange program that encourages a deeper exploration of the ways in which we are all uniquely human, We have enabled a one-on-one student relationship that constantly evolves as students connect and grow. In addition, we have collaborated around several educational activities (check out our "I Can't" ceremony) and look to expand this area of our relationship to allow for educators from Sycamore, Muddy Lotus, and a broad educational community  to connect, share, and mentor. Good education belongs to the willing. This global opportunity to share in each other's lives and create meaning as we seek a deeper understanding of how we all are connected has been a truly inspirational gift. We are excited to continue to explore and expand perspective in the worlds of our students and educators.

A cross cultural bond:

education, service,  friendship

Across land and sea, breaking down the barriers of race and economic status, our educators and students are building a foundation. It is upon this foundation that we hope to forge a relationship beneficial to all involved where learning and respect are paramount.

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In connection with Sycamore's annual "soup event," we encouraged the staff and students in Sierra Leone to write the incredible story of the nourishing soup that magically saved their village.

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Pen pals develop relationships, inspire curiosity and wonder, and open windows into new worlds. As better connectivity is coming to the Muddy Lotus community, we anticipate new and exciting ways to connect with our friends.



For several years now, our two schools have greatly benefited from the opportunity to learn from each other about very different ways of life while sharing a common bond.


Learn more about:

Shine On Sierra Leone

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