Isata’s New Life: Education Makes All the Difference in Sierra Leone

“We have young people with desperate tragedies behind them but when they come to us, they join a new family of hope and get on together with building new lives – their old families may or may not still be accessible to them but the EducAid family is a day to day reality that makes lots of new hope possible.” – Miriam Mason-Sesay, Co-Founder and Country Director EducAid Sierra Leone

Girl student at EduCaid
A young girl completes an assignment in an EducAid classroom.

Isata Kamara’s journey to EducAid was a long one. Now 23 years old, Isata ran away from home when she was younger. The home she fled was an abusive one in the far East of Sierra Leone. She had an abusive step mother who worked her like a slave and refused to give her food to eat.

Isata made her way to Freetown where she began looking for her mother. When she found her, her mother had no money to help support Isata. Isata began selling fruit on the streets to help make ends meet.

EducAid classroom
A teacher instructs a classroom of students in one of 9 EducAid schools.

One day Emmanuel Bailay, an EducAid teacher and friend of the family, saw Isata selling fruit and recommended she enroll in an EducAid Women’s Project program. The Women’s Project is a special program designed to help uneducated girls and young women of secondary school age “catch up” to their peers.

Isata joined the program and worked hard to reach the academic level of regular secondary students and was able to join mainstream classes. She is now studying Development Studies at the University of Makeni, where she is making a name for herself.

Miriam reflects proudly on Isata’s journey from “little market girl” to outstanding university student and talks of her ambition. “Isata is passionate about the importance of girls’ education and is determined to have an impact on the lives of other girls,” Miriam said. With the EducAid family to back her up, there’s no doubt now that Isata can achieve these dreams.

Miriam Mason-Sesay is the recipient of the 2015 World of Children Education Award. To learn more about Miriam and EducAid Sierra Leone visit

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