Miriam Mason-Sesay has been awarded an MBE for her work as country director of EducAid, a charity which runs schools for some of the poorest children in Sierra Leone. Miriam has lived in the country since 2000, initially visiting in 1998 to work with the Guinea-based refugees fleeing the horrific civil war. Many of the pupils live permanently in EducAid facilities because they have lost their families. EducAid provides daily food, education and medication through their academic life at a cost of approximately £180 per student per year.

Originally from Banbury in Oxfordshire where her parents still live, Miriam was educated at Blessed George Napier secondary school and then attended Goldsmiths College, London to read French. Subsequently she trained as a teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge.

After university she taught at several schools in the UK, including the Salesian college in Battersea, London and St Edmunds College, Ware, Hertfordshire – primarily focusing on modern languages.

Since moving to Sierra Leone, EducAid, under Miriam’s close direction, has established a network of schools which are successfully challenging the national culture of under-performance. Intake is restricted to the very poorest children. EducAid schools have achieved the best exam results in the country year after year.