|STG and Wahid, two very impressive young men –
amazing overcomers who are determined to be part of a new
and reformed Sierra Leone
A few years ago, we had a trio of bright lads who did everything together and appeared to be really pushing to the top as fast as they could go. They were hard working. They took the initiative. They were rock bottom poor but were determined to take control of their lives by using the opportunity of education they had been given. Today, Issa Fowai is studying engineering in China; Balla Turay is studying ICT in Venezuela and the third one has spent many years messing around in and out of police cells for the theft of mobile phones etc. We actually had to have him removed from EducAid property in handcuffs by the police when we realised it had been him casting the shadow of doubt over the whole school by stealing money and other valuables over a long period of time. He did not have the patience to wait and earn his success in real ways.
Recently, we have had three young men all targeting engineering. Their stories are appalling. The disasters and suffering they have overcome are staggering and yet they all seemed to be doing just that: overcoming! They were turning the page and becoming their best selves and leaving their street selves behind. How terrible therefore to wake on Wednesday to find that one of them had raided the Maronka library, cleared a bunch of staff phones and the key to the programme motorbike and headed off with it in to the night. He has dropped out and been drawn back in on so many occasions but with his intelligence and potential coming to the fore I had started being more confident that he would win in the end.
I am gutted for the loss of the bike which is such an important asset for us. It feels like a bereavement though, when I think of what he has done to his life chances.
We know that we will never win them all over and that some inevitably will take the short cut and miss out on the opportunity to leave their street life behind but it will always break my heart when one of them does!
If you would like to know more about EducAid’s work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to www.educaid.org.uk