Words from a Child: Ishmael Mansaray of Sierra Leone


Twelve-year-old Ishmael, described as a “leader” by those who know him, comes from the village of Mosenesi in the chiefdom of Banta Mokelleh in Sierra Leone. Mosenesi is an extremely impoverished, rural village of about 700 people located about seven miles from our ministry center in Banta. There is no electricity or water (residents must travel distances to collect water, which in most cases is not clean). There is a high illiteracy rate as access to school is very limited and most families cannot afford the meager school fees. For most, education is not a priority as mere survival is of utmost concern. Parents often forgo school for their children to have them work the farm, search out food or supplies, or engage in domestic responsibilities. Malnutrition and infant mortality are high.

Prior to Children of the Nations launching a Village Partership Program with Mosenesi in 2007, Ishmael and the other children of his village suffered greatly and had very little hope for the future. Having lost his father to rebel attack during the war, Ishmael’s widowed mother was left to care for him and his two brothers—and she struggled daily to provide adequate care for them.

Today, through our Sponsorship Program, Ishmael has a sponsor—an individual here in the US willing to give monthly so that Ishmael might have a better life. Ishmael has experienced first-hand the difference his sponsor has made in his life and shares of it in a recent letter...

Dear Sponsor Father,

My mother is sick, she has no money, and my father is dead. My mother has no money to pay my school fees. Thank you for sponsoring me so that I can go to school. Before I was sponsored I did not always eat and I did not have soap, but now that I am sponsored, I have food to eat and soap to wash my body and my school uniform. I would love you to come meet me and my friends. When I grown up I want to be president of Sierra Leone so that I can stop violence and help people who have no food.

~ 12-year-old Ishmael Mansaray, Sierra Leone

If you would like to sponsor a child like Ishmael in Sierra Leone (or in one of our other countries), please visit our Sponsorship page for more information.