News / Africa

Sierra Leoneans in Washington, DC to Observe 49th Independence Anniversary

Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens says Sierra Leoneans are ready to once again make their country a part of the community of nations

Map of Sierra Leone
Map of Sierra Leone

Multimedia

Audio
  • Sierra Leone Ambassador to the U.S. Stevens spoke with Butty

James Butty

As Sierra Leone celebrates its 49th independence anniversary April 27, its ambassador to the United States said the country is ready to return to its once glorious days as a repository of knowledge and a beacon of hope in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens said that after enduring 11 years of civil war beginning in the early 90s, Sierra Leoneans are ready to once again make their country an important part of the community of nations.

“After 11 years of civil war which was a situation of total anarchy, destruction and loss of life, I would say we’ve come out of the woods…but as a nation we want to put most of those vices behind us,” he said.

Ambassador Stevens said President Ernest Bai Koroma’s agenda of change calls on all Sierra Leoneans to be part of the country’s development.

“Nobody else can develop Sierra Leone for us. We’ve seen a lot of misery, but right now I think we see light at the end of the tunnel. There has been some physical development. We’ve seen development in the provision of electricity, we’ve seen development in the provision of roads, and development in the provision of health care,” Stevens said.

He said as part of Tuesday’s Independence Day festivities, President Koroma will launch Sierra Leone’s free health delivery system.

“The president is going to make a landmark announcement whereby pregnant women and children from five years under will be entitled and will receive free medical attention from the health sector. It’s a big achievement,” Stevens said.

He said the Koroma government hopes to in the future provide free health care and education for all Sierra Leoneans.

As part of the 49th independence anniversary festivities, the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington is holding a symposium entitled “Rise and Shine Sierra Leone, for a Better Tomorrow.”

Ambassador Stevens said the theme was selected to reflect on Sierra Leone’s once admirable standing in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Sierra Leone used to be the Athens of Africa; Sierra Leone used to be the repository of knowledge in Africa. Furahbay College was a very significant institution in that area. We chose that the theme of the symposium to reflect on this idea that we were once a beacon of hope in Africa south of the Sahara,” Stevens said.

He said through hard work by all Sierra Leoneans the country will be able to once again take its place in the world of nations.

Ambassador Stevens said he values highly the contribution of the Sierra Leone Diaspora in North America in the Sierra Leone's economic and social development.

“That is why one of the things I did when I took over in the United States was to develop a data base of the Sierra Leone community to create the awareness among the Diaspora population to let them know that they owe a duty to Mother Sierra Leone. Was it not for Sierra Leone they will not be here. They should not turn their backs on Sierra Leone,” Ambassador Stevens said.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid