Mabinty Sankoh is just ten years old, yet in her very short lifetime she has had more hardships than most people experience in a lifetime. Instead of growing
bitter, she speaks of her experiences with a smile, not because they weren’t difficult, but because she now has hope.
Mabinty Sankoh in her school uniform
When Mabinty was five years old, her father, a man who strongly believed that every child should have access to education, died suddenly. He had
already enrolled Mabinty at the local school, which she attended for two years.
In that time, tragedy struck again. Mabinty’s mother became seriously ill, and the community, believing her mother had been involved in witchcraft,
shunned Mabinty and refused to offer the little seven-year-old, and her mother, any help.
Mabinty’s mother’s health continued to deteriorate throughout that year and for the first time, Mabinty faced food insecurity as her mother was unable to work in their subsistence farm or seek work to make any money to buy food. Mabinty was forced to stop attending school so that she could try to grow food for the
family and look after her ailing mother. A few months after falling ill, Mabinty’s mother sadly passed away.
The little orphan was sent to live with her uncle, a man with very different values to his brother as he believed that children should only be schooled in
learning Arabic and that girls should receive no education at all.
Mabinty wasn’t allowed to attend school for two years and admits that there were times that she hated her gender because being a girl prevented her from getting an education. Instead of growing bitter, she prayed daily that God would make a way that would enable her to go back to school.
“When the Free Quality Education programme was launched in Sierra Leone in August 2018, I knew that God had answered my prayers and given me a second chance.” Mabinty says with a shy smile.
Because of her age, Mabinty was placed in year three and attended school with the dedication that often comes only from those who know, from hard experience, just how precious knowledge is. Despite her dedication to her education, Mabinty often went to school without food, so it was another answer to her prayers
when JAM’s feeding programme was introduced into the school.
“Most days the school lunch is the only food I eat, and I am thankful to JAM and partners for blessing us.” She says.
For many people, the reality of Mabinty’s world is still unimaginably difficult, but the hope she feels now that she has food and an education
would not be possible without the support of donors from around the world.
JAM porridge provides approximately 75% of the required daily nutrients for children