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Mariatu Kamara

Mariatu Kamara (Photo care of Buffalo for Africa)

I was recently introduced to information about this beautiful young woman. A revolution captured her and here is part of her story. When we read about young girls like Winter Santiaga whose life was based on the value of material goods, not people, and we meet Mariatu Kamara whose grave experiences gave her the strength and courage to reach out to help others.

“Mariatu Kamara is an inspirational young woman who exemplifies the best of humanity. She speaks softly and is always concerned about the well being of others.

When Mariatu first arrived in Canada, she had to deal with extraordinary obstacles – physical disability (her hands had been amputated by rebels during the Sierra Leone civil war), lack of formal education (she had never had the opportunity to attend school) and the inability to communicate in English.

Despite these barriers, she has integrated well into Canadian society and is a positive role model for other young people. She shares her heartbreaking story of rape, torture, the death of her child and having to beg on the streets, with courage and grace. Her story stands as a source of inspiration to others; they too can overcome their worst fears, find their talents, seek a purpose and live life to the fullest.

Despite the huge physical and emotional barriers, Mariatu manages to face each day optimistically. Nothing could hold her back from achieving her dream of graduating from high school in 1997, and now post-secondary studies at George Brown College in the Assaulted Women and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate Program. Her memoir, The Bite of the Mango, co-written with her nominator Susan McClelland, tells the story of her life in Sierra Leone, her capture by rebel soldiers and how she came to live in Canada.

Mariatu is eager to speak to groups about her experiences and to educate the public about the impact of war on children. She hopes to be able to share her experiences with people of all ages. Mariatu has spoken publicly about the impact of war on children for Free the Children. She is now a UNICEF Canada special representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

Her life goals include working for the United Nations and counselling abused women and children. She has also set up a foundation to help provide housing for victims of war in Sierra Leone.”

The information regarding this remarkable young woman was sent to me on Facebook. From there, I felt compelled to learn more about this remarkable woman, her arduous journey, and the path she has made to help others from her county who have suffered as she has. The unconscionable of violence is never without consequence. And, if anyone can speak on it, Mariatu Kamara can. http://www.mariatufoundation.com/

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