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

Video Biden Attends Services at Emanuel AME

Biden said he came to Sunday’s services because he and his family wanted to show solidarity with the families and the church More

Diverse Nation

Here's why minorities could become the US majority sooner than expected More

Rush of Same-Sex Marriages Follows US Supreme Court Ruling

But swift backlash from conservative groups foreshadows battles ahead 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs