By Abdul Hassan Fackie
I am one person who has become so impressed with the efforts of Mercury International in promoting education in this county that I actually see it as a duty to publicly commend them.
Last year they gave scholarships of over five hundred and fifty million Leones (Le550M) to over five hundred pupils’ and students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions all over country.
This year they have added to those figures and have given about seven hundred million Leones (Le700M) to over seven hundred and fifty children who are mostly underprivileged children whose parents can hardly afford to pay their fees.
When I asked the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Martin Michael, on the rational for their scholarship scheme, he explained that they see education as pivotal in enhancing the country’s development efforts which he said is the major reason they have made it one of their priority areas in addition to their assistance to charity, sports, health, and sanitation and their interventions in other social issues.
Mr. Michael stressed that they believe that they have a moral duty to give back to the people the profits they make from their games, and maintained that they will continue with such gestures for as long as they continue to exist.
He also revealed that since they started the scholarship scheme about three years ago, they have given over three billion Leones (Le 3B) to thousands of Sierra Leonean children all over the country.
He also explained to me that they even intend to build a vocational and training centre that will cater for the training needs of majority of this country’s young people.
They have now added another feather to their cap by opening a radio station, FM 92.0 which not only informs, educates and entertains but also employs young Sierra Leoneans.
If you ask me why I am publicly saluting Mercury International I will reply that it is mainly because they are really working very hard to address the unemployment situation in the country by engaging mostly youths in selling their products thereby creating a lot of jobs for them and reducing the crime rate and other anti- social activities.
I will also tell you that it is because they are promoting and supporting education in this country in a very big way.
Even most of the players and winners of Mercury games are young men and women, most of whom now essentially make their living from betting in these games.
It is against this backdrop that I believe that it is imperative on us as Sierra Leoneans to continue to support and commend them so that they will continue to do more.