ORPHANS LEAD THE WAY
The Blood Diamonds war of Sierra Leone was infamous for child soldiers and horrific violence. It not only destroyed so much of the country, but also traumatized the population. The United Methodist Church founded an orphanage to protect children during the War. I ended up there unplanned, and while there I met orphan youth who had vision and hope waiting to be actualized. Seeking to empower one of the orphan youth with an ambitious dream, some friends and I funded and organized the construction of homes for widows in his remote village. When I went to see the houses, I brought the CRC youth with me to run a Vacation Bible School for the illiterate children of the village. We all saw that these kids were missing an opportunity, a good education. So YVA was born by starting with the education of five village
Although we have fixed wells, opened a solar powered health center and helped protect the area from the Ebola epidemic, we have come to focus on empowering youth through education and God’s hope and compassion. Our original scholarship program with the five children has developed into a comprehensive leadership and character development mission utilizing the village church community and weekly American mentor sessions. Our primary school has triggered amazing,
Young Vision Africa has always been about the vision of young Africans.
Our mission is to empower young leaders in Sierra Leone to fulfill their dreams of helping and changing their country. We would never make a pretense to be successful in this without the Grace of God, which we seek to submit to. Whether it’s in our small room where our five high school boys grow, or in our crowded one-room schoolhouse, or through our young adult orphan employees, or through the commitment of weekly U.S. mentors and volunteers who break barriers by traveling to the ‘below third world’ of the Salone bush, we believe in humility, spontaneity and the future!
We are also a tremendous opportunity for any American looking to give to something hardcore, real and effective. If you realize that you have a responsibility to help those in need, then you need to join us.
Meet our team that makes it possible.
Alan Chorun has been an educator and pastor who’s led mission/service work in homeless communities in Manhattan, the Cheyenne River reservation, Appalachia, and New Jersey. He went to Sierra Leone alone in 2009 to see the country and volunteer with different development efforts for children and youth. While there he met orphan youth whom he foresaw as altruistic leaders. That was the start of YVA.
Alan travels to Sierra Leone periodically to bring Americans to participate in YVA’s work, observe completed projects, and create/enhance new initiatives in conjunction with our partner CBO orgs, YVA’s interns, and the beneficiaries.
Some of our Sierra Leone Staff
Abu Bakarr J.
Abu grew up a war orphan in Salone. Having completed certificates in higher education, Abu joined the YVA family to facilitate communication between students and sponsors. Abu finds joy in his work, “ because whenever I look at the faces of the kids that are sponsored by Young Vision Africa I always praise God for his goodness. I hope through the grace of God to see these kids with good future.”
Intern Head Teacher Tato School/Church Pastor
Our lead teacher at Tato Primary, Saidu displays amazing intelligence, versatility and commitment while living in rural Sierra Leone. Working with children and adults, educating, encouraging and telling their stories, Saidu is the complete picture.
Intern Early Childhood Teacher/ Asst. Pastor
Princess is a born educator – naturally animated, creative and engaging. Besides that she’s fully committed to the work of the school. She also serves as our worship leader and Asst. Pastor at our church, setting an example for our younger girls of an independent, self sufficient young woman.
Intern Assistant Head Teacher
Malikie, teaching 2nd grade, has been serving the school since the beginning with sincerity, humility and reliability.
Katumu has taught 1st grade for two years.
New to Tato, Kon comes on as the 3rd grade teacher. Like most of our other staff, he is attending Teacher Certification classes through Freetown Teachers College (Distance Program).
Our newest teacher, working in Grade 1
Reverend Enid Brotherson Benjamin
Reverend Enid has an amazing story of Providence in finding Sierra Leone and YVA. From Guyana, South America Enid has committed herself to YVA’s future, taking an amazing role in our April ’16 trip and blazing the trail of staying long term in rural Sierra Leone for 5 months in ’17.
Megan Gabon Chan
Megan is a registered nurse in New Jersey. She heard Alan speak at Ramapo University and started promoting and working for YVA even before anyone knew it. As secretary, she is incredibly efficient and dedicated, and exemplifies the hope and faith that YVA seeks to spread in Africa.
Regina is an all around YVA bastion, coordinating volunteers, recording our dispersements and improving our social media. She has a Master of Arts in Political Science from California State University, Northridge with a focus on International Relations and Comparative Politics.
Roy is currently serving in the U.S. Military. Roy has always displayed an interest in philanthropy and mentorship. Traveling throughout the world to include places such as Israel, Hong Kong, Scotland, Malaysia and Bahrain. Roy has taken the opportunity to help wherever he could with community relations to improve the quality of life for those who are in need. Roy has earned a certificate in counseling and computers and is continuing lifelong learning studying accounting. Roy was exposed to the YVA family through his lifelong friendship with Alan
Lloyd came on our trip team in April, shooting the student movie, taking great portraits and making quick personal connections with the kids everywhere. Now Lloyd manages our Instagram page daily and brings his open and giving spirit to the YVA leadership.