Braima currently works as a Community Teacher in Jokibu village
In 1997, I carried a 50 pound bag of rice for twenty four miles in exchange for the equivalent of $3 USD. At the time, rebels had invaded my country, Sierra Leone, and burned my childhood home of Jokibu. The Sierra Leonean Army was hiring local citizens to transport food in order to avoid travel on the main rebel infested roads. It was the toughest day of my life. I had finished senior secondary school, could read and write English, and had started a family but was still desperate enough to make that dangerous journey.
Today, my life is miles away from the painful journey I took that day. I have five beautiful children with my wife Jattu—Hawa (junior secondary two), Sellu and Satta (primary class five), Grace (primary class one), and baby Sattu. I have a large plantation farm and rice swamp that I cultivate in order to feed my family and I am currently employed by OneVillage Partners as a trained and qualified community teacher.
This year, I resigned as income officer to pursue a career in teaching. At the encouragement of OVP, I completed a two year teaching certificate course and now am on track for becoming a government employed teacher. OVP has helped me to work in a field that I love and comfortably support my family. Beyond my employment, my family benefits tremendously from the program. We use the OVP constructed water wells and latrines every day. My children use materials in the primary school donated by OVP funders and my wife is a women’s business loan recipient.I can honestly say that I would not be here today without the help of OneVillage Partners. After the war, I had heard that OVP was encouraging people to return to their homes by providing zinc for their roofs. Only through the support of OVP was I able to rebuild my home and return to the place my mother and father had raised me. Just one year later, I was hired as an OVP income officer. In this role, I bought cocoa from local farmers, gave loans to help improve nutritional habits and farming practices, and learned how to type on a computer.
As one of the first OVP staff members I have had the chance to experience its growth along with my own. Today the program is very wide—reaching all members of my community. Community members admire OVP for its willingness to hire local staff and listen to the voices of the community. I admire it for its willingness to change and adapt to local customs and beliefs. No other program operates the way OVP does.
On behalf of myself, my family, and my home community of Jokibu, I thank OneVillage Partners for the impact it has made on my life.