Saye-Maye Cole was one of the victims of a Liberian civil war and, at an early age, he ended up in a SOS Childrens Village where he found the stable family that he so needed. At that time there were many abductions of children taking place for the recruitment of child soldiers. Saye-Maye was almost a victim of this but luckily his SOS mother had been able to intervene and announced that if Saye-Maye was to be taken then the recruiters have to take her too! And the soldiers gave up. Later, due to the ongoing violence and instability in Liberia, SOS children with academic potential were taken to Gambia to continue studying as the instability in Liberia had resulted in many schools having to close. Saye-Maye was one of the fortunate students who were taken to live in an SOS village in Gambia.
Saye Maye described the reason behind his motivation being in following way: “I wanted to show that their money was not wasted”. Saye-Maye received a full scholarship to UWC Red Cross Nordic, for the two years which he described as “…the best years of my life’’.
Saye-Maye now works for the government of Liberia coordinating the aid received from the IMF and various other organizations. He says that the two years spent at RCN helped him a lot in his life and especially in his work now, where cultural sensitivity and careful communication is required. Saye-Maye gave a presentation about his life and told that the volunteering aspect that he learnt during his time at RCN had continued ever since he left and, even at the moment, he works at the University in Liberia as a volunteer teacher of Economics. He reminded us that it is good not be only on the receiving end of generosity and kindness, but also to give. In his visit we could see the UWC mission statement being brought to life as he is now helping to build his country with tools developed from his UWC education.
For more in English, see here.