An interview with CRC alumnus Abdulai Swaray, one of the original 40 children rescued from the street during the Sierra Leone civil war. Today, Abdulai is an IT professional who lives with his wife and children in Maryland. He is currently searching for a job opportunity in information technology, cloud computing, cybersecurity, system analysis, or database administration.
I was born during the 'Blood Diamond' war in Sierra Leone, West Africa, in a village in Pujehun district. To escape the war, my parents took me into the jungle where we lived for several years. The rebels eventually found us in the jungle and I was separated from my parents. I followed a convoy that led to the city, and I ended up in Bo city without my parents. I struggled in the city without them. I even entered into child labor and began sleeping on the street and living off the food I found.
I was rescued from the street by the Child Rescue Centre, and lived there until I graduated high school and went off to university. In 2012, I got married to the love of my life. God blessed us with a child, and I had the opportunity to travel to the United States on a full scholarship from Ramapo College where I earned my bachelor's degree in Information Technology Management. In 2018, God blessed us with another child. Juggling work as a dad and husband, I pursued a Master's degree at George Mason University in Applied Information Technology. In 2020, I earned my MS degree with a concentration in cyber security.
During my senior year of high school, I founded an organization called Young Vision Africa to empower young leaders in developing nations to achieve sustainable change in their communities. YVA provided housing, education, clean water, and health services to vulnerable people in West Africa, and we recruited American sponsors to join in these efforts. My involvement with YVA provided me the opportunity to speak globally about issues and challenges in Africa, including the Ebola crisis, and I was a featured speaker at the opening ceremony for Ramapo College's 'Year of Sub-Saharan Africa.'
Those we are serving are at the center of everything we do."
In 2017, I became an ambassador for one of my dream projects, "Healthcare Without Borders" at Thaakat Foundation. We have established two healthcare facilities, treated over 18,000 patients, and delivered more than 450 healthy babies. We continue to develop programs to aid in the overall quality of life for communities in Pujehun District. We manage malaria prevention and treatment programs and have an acute malnutrition program to assist the under-five population. As an ambassador, I helped the Foundation navigate through challenges, keep them focused, and ensure that those we are serving are at the center of everything we do. I am also a board member with Unsilenced Voices, a nonprofit whose mission is to help victims of domestic abuse and gender-based violence worldwide.
The Child Reintegration Centre (formerly Child Rescue Centre) held an Attachment Theory workshop organized by CRC counselors Emmanuel and Assiatu. Attachment theory addresses the creation of strong, healthy emotional bonds between parents and their children.
Fifty parents of CRC students were invited to attend the conference, where they learned strategies for strengthening the bond with their children and developing healthy family relationships.
The typical child enrolled in a CRC program has experienced the deprivation of extreme poverty and many have been traumatized by losing parents and other family members. The counselors coached the parents in communication skills, and encouraged them to develop open and honest dialogue with their children to help them heal from trauma or emotional distress.
CRC parent Agnes Boma said it has been difficult for her to develop a close relationship with her teenage daughter, and she appreciated what she learned at the workshop. "From what I learnt from the workshop I will create a bond between myself and my daughter," she said. "I will encourage her to confide in me."
The CRC is proud to announce that Finance Manager Lucy Jusu had graduated with a Bachelors degree in Accounting and Finance from the Royal College of Theology and Administration, under KEISIE International University.
Lucy is an original CRC employee, having joined the staff in 2000 as an administrative assistant. In 2014, Lucy was promoted to Business Manager, and once more promoted to Finance Manager in 2018.
In 2016, Lucy was awarded a Ginny Wagner scholarship to pursue a university degree, named for the former Executive Director of Helping Children Worldwide.
"Dreams die slowly when opportunities are absent," Lucy says. "This was the dream I had but the realization of this heavenly dream was actualized by the divine intervention of the Ginny Wagner Scholarship Program.”
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