It was never going to be easy. Amy was just a year old when her late father abandoned her. She grew up in poverty with her single mother in the Western Area, one of Sierra Leone’s five provinces.
It is easy to romanticise that great success and resilience will so often arise from equally great hardship. But in Amy’s case, this is true.
She graduated from St Joseph’s Convent secondary school and successfully completed her final exams, an achievement in itself considering Sierra Leone’s high school completion rate, which is but 19%.
From here, Amy continued to pursue her education. In 2012, she earnt a Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Milton Margai College of Education & Technology. But still, Amy wanted to go to university.
With the support of her mother working to raise money in their shared effort, Amy was able to realise this dream, graduating from Fourah Bay College in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. All in the meantime as she studied, Amy had not only interned for the Minister of Social Welfare to seek justice for victims of sexual violence and child trafficking, but she also joined the fight against Ebola that overcame the country in 2014. In this role, she displayed great leadership in coordinating a program that targeted education and health to counter the deadly virus’ surge.
But Amy’s true calling arguably came after taking part in a certificate program with ActionAid Sierra Leone. Here, she received training, working on the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance, an important tool used to set the standards for better governance across the continent. In her time, she worked with the Coalition for Civil Society & Human Right Activists, helping young people as she monitored cases of abuse and free medical care drugs.
Her transition to the Aberdeen Women Centre in 2019 as a social worker and guidance counsellor seems only a natural extension of her earlier training. Here, she provided support for her patients and well as staff, further liaising with police and families of survivors that experienced sexual and gender-based violence. One of her patients, Isatu, talks of the great “empathy she has for patients,” showing “support and love to every patient.”
It is hard to imagine an individual more resilient and selfless and determined, one who has endured poverty, who has combatted disease, and emerge with compassion and strength.
The Aberdeen Women’s Centre is so grateful to have Amy as our counsellor, and for the dedication she gives to each and every person. Thank you, Amy.