A 19-year-old Gambian currently based in the United States is working tirelessly to advocate for the rights of children especially in Africa. She is a second year student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in African Studies at Montgomery College.
Why did you decide to study African Studies?
I often look up to nations in West Africa as my home. My love for my country is immeasurable while I love and cherish my experiences in the United States and value the freedoms I continue to enjoy in this country. Each day I am drawn back to my roots, where I believe I have been called to make a significant difference in the lives of women, children and men in that small country. I want to contribute immensely to the development of The Gambia, and to Africa as a whole, which led to my interest in African Studies in which I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in.
Why focused on children’s education?
Because I am an example of the benefits of education especially educating a girl child. I am fortunate to have been born into a family that values education and sees it as a way to increase knowledge and improve a person’s economic status. My goals are to give back to society, to see that every child is given a chance at education because I know how it feels to see children enjoy their right to education as I was given a chance at it.
Why did you prioritise education?
Because I am a firm believer that education is the answer to the greatest challenges we face as a society. I will continue to ask for help and urge leaders to raise budgets for children, build schools, train teachers and improve learning for all children. I believe if we build a society fit for children, we are all assured of a better tomorrow.
Are you part of any organisation?
Yea, six years ago in The Gambia at the age of thirteen, I joined ‘the Voice of the Young” a child-led advocacy group in the Gambia. At ‘Voice’ we set out to talk to our community about the rights of children. We used the media to reach people by conducting radio and TV programs with the goal of raising awareness and educating people about the rights of children all across The Gambia which inspired me to become a child’s right activist.
Have you taken a break in your advocacy after travelling?
No, I am still fighting for the rights of children, most importantly their right to education. As a Global Youth Ambassador, I’m calling attention to the 57 million children around the world who are denied their human right to education. I am joined in this call with MalalaYousafzai, Sdhazia and Kainat, who were shot by the Taliban for going to school in Pakistan just over a year ago. Their stories and those of so many youth ambassadors inspire me to stand up for the millions of children who are kept out of school because of poverty, early marriage, child labour, and other forms of discrimination.
Any plans for your country?
Yes, one day I will return home because Gambia is all I have and then I will have the opportunity to fulfil my dream and bring a new beginning such as the one I have had here in the US to millions of women and children in The Gambia and countries all across Africa.
Who is your role model?
My father is my motivation and for him I will keep working hard to make our world a better place.
Why did you choose your dad when girls are known to be close to their mums?
I think girls are actually closer to their dads and that’s what I did
Words by Sise Sawaneh]]>