26 Sep Mohamed Sidibay – A Banner man for Education
Mohamed Sidibay is an inspirational leader who has dedicated his life to ensuring all children have access to education, regardless of where they are born.
At 24 years old, Mohamed is reckoned as a guiding force, fighting for human rights and his lectures on the power of education have inspired people across five continents. He graduated from The George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs in 2015, speaks four languages and spends most of his time traveling and speaking on the importance of education and the dangers of a mind kept in captivity.
To say that he had a tragic childhood would be an understatement. Mohamed Sidibay grew up in Sierra Leone during the civil war. He was orphaned at the age of 5 when he witnessed his entire family being murdered, he was raped and was enlisted as a child soldier. At 10, he became homeless and he could neither read nor write. His experiences in those tender years taught him the importance of an educated mind. Even in those early years, Sidibay knew he had to make something of himself- and so he ran.
In 2007, at 14, Sidibay fled through JFK airport in New York in search of peace, education, and life in a community that wouldn’t judge him on the atrocities of his past, but rather help him to achieve his future aspirations. He now dedicates his life to ensuring educational access to all children regardless of where they were born.
Besides the fact that Sidibay is a soon-to-be law student, he is an advocate of the transformative power of education. “For me, childhood was a nightmare; escape always seemed impossible. But when the war officially ended, in 2002, I began finding ways to recover. One of the most important has been an opportunity I couldn’t have imagined as an angry, illiterate, nine-year-old soldier: school.” Mohamed Sidibay recalls his childhood and expresses his thoughts on children’s education in an article posted on the World Economic Forum.
Although he believes that his life has had a tinge of luck to it, as his education has been a result of it. As it stands, 260 million children do not have access to a school. Sidibay predicts that by 2030, more than half of the school-age children- 800 million children- will lack the education required to thrive in society. He suggests that the current educational financing that is being sanctioned by governments is far below the minimum and absolutely unacceptable. In an attempt to put his best foot forward in light of these realizations, Mohamed Sidibay is the proud banner-man for initiatives such as ‘Education Opportunity’, ‘the Global Partnership for Education (GPE)’, and the ‘Education Cannot Wait’ fund (ECW). His goal with his work is to make quality education for children everywhere more than a matter of luck.
“Platitudes not backed by financial support are meaningless.” This statement echoes an imperative truth. Sidibay believes the world must fund quality education and the best way to achieve this would be to support the mission of the International Finance Facility for Education.
Mohamed Sidibay is adamant that his story isn’t an isolated one and wants to change that. He wants the world to achieve what he has, regardless of the circumstance (luck) that he had. Sidibay says, “My goal is to ensure that others can gain a quality education and follow the path that has opened up to me. Together, we must remove luck from the equation.”
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