The Sierra Leone Educational Enrichment Project (S.L.E.E.P) was founded by Oshri Hakak and Sean Rosario in 2005 to provide disenfranchised Sierra Leonean students, including women and girls, with greater access to educational resources, as well as opportunities for American and Sierra Leonean students to interact with and learn about each other.
The founders were inspired by Sierra Leonean friends who had alerted them to the need for books and other educational resources after a brutal civil war that lasted over a decade. After witnessing significant wasteful spending in the developing world, their aim was to create an organization that would devote the majority of resources and funding towards those in need by reducing overhead costs. Since its inception, SLEEP has achieved this aim.
S.L.E.E.P. has expanded its programs to Zambia, including the continued provision of educational resources to Sierra Leone and Zambia, and launching a two-year technology college to produce the future leaders of the technology revolution in Africa. S.L.E.E.P. operates with a strong value of integrity and always strives to optimize on our donors’ financial and material input, along with our excellent human resources, to run programs that best meet our beneficiaries’ needs. We aim to act as a vessel to serve whichever beneficiary groups that our donors most seek to assist.
Since 2008, S.L.E.E.P. had campus chapters in California, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. In the U.S., we are currently based in Los Angeles, California.
Our founders and staff have spent an enormous amount of time living in Africa. We are deeply invested in the continent and its people. Therefore, we do not place Africa in a subordinate position in need of dire help. Rather, we look at the continent and our work as uncovering untapped potential. There is immense talent on the continent; we merely seek to nurture the talent by providing the necessary resources, mentorship and training. Therefore, our vision is to shape adn mold empowered leaders that will train other leaders and pave the way for an Africa that is in charge of her own destiny. We believe that education is the most powerful tool to make this change. Education includes resources, training, networks and mentorship.
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Integrity: We operate with the utmost honesty and transparency in what we do, and say and how we hold each other accountable for our actions. We believe in using our donor funds with integrity by allocating the majority of our funds and resources towards our benefiiciaries and living frugally among our staff.
Innovation: We believe in continually learning, using new ideas and methods, and striving to improve. Although we must operate with bureaucracy and regulations in our relations with external stakeholders, we minimize innnovation stalwarts within our own organization. We have discovered that the best way to keep improving is by learning new ideas nad sharing with others. We attend and host conferences that promote thought leadership. We also use rigorous research methods and efficient technologies for our Monitoring and Evaluation Programs. We keep up with the latest news, trends and market research in Africa and beyond.
Respect: We acknowledge dignity, intelligent, talent, potential and contributions of our beneficiaries, donors, staff, partners and other stakeholders.
Service: We believe strongly in reciprocity. Our staff, beneficiaries and donors are part of our larger family and we believe in treating them as such. We keep our stakeholders informed of our latest projects, how we are using our resources and ways in which we are training our students to pay it forward. This is a core value that prompted our founders to start this organization and it continues to be our core value as we forge ahead.
Visionary Thinking and Action: A visionary is a person with ideas about what the future will or could be like. We encourage visionary thinking and action and cultivate it among our students and staff. We also consider our organization a pioneer on this front. We subscribe to the notion that nothing is impossible. It begins with a vision, filled with audacity, imagination, inspiration and insight. We believe that the world needs more visionary leaders and we are here to nurture their development and be models for future leaders.
Some useful facts…
50% of the world’s young people will be African.Walt Disney
is home to the world’s 2nd largest youth population.J. K. Rowling
young people under the age of 18 will account for about 1 billion of Africa’s population.Dr. Seuss