"I left Sierra Leone at the age of 21, to get away from the war and political instability in my country. When I first got to the Netherlands, a few things that struck me were the tall buildings, the cold weather and the sight of all the white people! But I was immediately impressed by this great nation.
During my time here, I feel I have been able to contribute to my community in many ways. First, by emphasising the importance of the businesses migrants have established in the Netherlands, and additional taxes they provide to the state. Secondly, as a consultant on entrepreneurship and diversity, I reconcile public and private interests on a daily basis. I also serve as a key resource person for a number of key Dutch institutions within The Sierra Leone Embassy, businesses and others agencies in Sierra Leone. Finally, I have played a leading role towards to the empowerment and integration of the Sierra Leonean Diasporas in The Netherlands by serving as the president of the Sierra Leone Central Union - a platform for 14 Sierra Leonean organisations based in The Netherlands.
It is important for me to do what I can for my country, even though I don’t live there currently. I help promote trade and investment between Sierra Leone and The Netherlands. When I’m back home in Sierra Leone, I develop and implement educational projects that give young, ambitious people the tools to become the entrepreneurs that the country needs. I also led and lobbied for the inclusion of Sierra Leone in the Connecting Diaspora for Development Programme (CD4D). CD4D is a demand-driven project for addressing capacity-building needs in selected priority institutions in countries of origin. The project enables diaspora professionals to use their expertise, skills and network for the development of their country of origin. For Sierra Leone the focus is on capacity building of institutions in the Health, Education and Agriculture sector.
I believe in the power of migrants, especially the youth, and I see the huge untapped talent they have. I will continue to advocate and leverage my experience, expertise and networks to create closer connections and greater prosperity for the target group in the Netherlands.
My country is still very important to me, I miss my family and life in the village the most. There is no place like home! We must do all we can to transform our country social and economic potential to benefit all. Still, there were forces beyond my control that required me to leave. To me, home is a place where I feel safe and secure to express my feelings without fear of being captured and tortured. With a safe and enabling environment, I can develop my talent and potential given to me by God and actively contribute to development of myself and the society. To those who find themselves living away from home, my advice would be to learn the language and culture of the host country. Accept the fact that you are migrants in the country. You must adjust to the host country’s rules, values and inspirations, and do all you can to learn and integrate into the society."