Salone News

YSLI’s Great Maryland Banquet

9 April 2007 at 01:35 | 783 views

The Maryland Chapter of Youth for Sierra Leone Improvement (YSLI) had their first annual banquet in Silver Springs, MD on Saturday March 31st. It was overall a great success for both the attendees and the organizers.

The theme for this banquet was “Footsteps to Achievement,” with making a difference in education and democratic awareness through Sierra Leone youths as a sub-theme. The event was attended by who is who in the community to support such vibrant youth movement. The Hall was packed with supporters and politicians from each of the major political parties. It has to be stated that the Youths have been awaken and has arrive in a fashion not seen before in the Sierra Leone community.

After the social hour, the event was open with a Muslim and Christian prayer. Dr. Sheku Kamara - Fourah Bay Alumni President and Mr. Ekbert Parker - SaloneConnection Vice-president did the honors as serving as host and co-host for the evening. They did a great job of keeping things moving through the dinner hour and towards the time when the evening’s programs began.

Opening the Event with an eloquent speech was Ms. Zainab Sidique vice-president of Md Chapter who made it a point because of the significance of the event to state that YSLI is not affiliated with any of the political parties but they do lobby and network with governmental agencies on behalf of the Youths. The President of Maryland Chapter, Ms. Kadija Jalloh gave the most inspiring speech of the night quoting Reinhold Niebuhr “Man is capable of justice, hence democracy is possible; but man is inclined to injustice, therefore democracy is necessary”.

The keynote address was given by Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nation, H.E. Dr. Sylvester Rowe. Inspirational Speaker was non-other than Sarian Bouma, author of Welfare to Millionaire. What an honor it was to hear both speak of new leadership and new Vision, Youth leadership and Youth Vision which YSLI has proven to have.

Honorary guest speakers were The Director for National Endowment for Democracy, Mr. Dave Peterson and National Democratic Institute Senior Program officer for Sierra Leone, Steve Dowdy. Both gentlemen spoke of the importance of democratic movement and why supporting such youth movement as YSLI to strengthen democracy. In addition, YSLI also had the privilege of hosting the three political parties, The All Peoples Congress National Chairman, Alimamy Kargbo, The National Chairman of Sierra Leone Peoples Party, Matthew Maggao who was absent due to traveling plans and The representative of People Movement for Democratic Change, Dr. Hon Dauda Tombo Bangura.
The evening’s entertainment was provided by the world renowned Afrochique Dance Troupe and Sierra Leone famous cultural artist and entertainer, the one and only Daddy Rahmanu.

A powerful voter education skit was performed by YSLI Members, Ibrahim Bah, Bob Thomas and Abibatu Dainkeh which had the audience in taters all while addressing important issues such as land tenure, youth unemployment, foreign policy, and voting rights. The skit also ask about where the funds is expected to come from for all these promises the presidential aspirant are promising the people since Sierra Leone is lacking industry to provide the state funds.

The highlights of the evening was the closing remarks given by the National Chairman of YSLI, Dr. Michel Sho-Sawyer who started his speech by stating he is not here to give a speech but to challenge each and every Sierra Leoneans to think above their own self -interest for our beloved nation, He continued with “I have a friend who always state he is pregnant with hope for Sierra Leone, but today I believe he has given Birth, birth to a new nation of youth who are dedicated to improve Sierra Leone. He continues to challenge each member of the audience with a quote from Dr. King that our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. He invokes the names of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi for Sierra Leoneans to rise and become more patriotic to their beloved motherland.

Dr. Sho-Sawyer(photo) went on to state his vision for Sierra Leone and challenge the community to support the Youth Movement to rebuild Sierra Leone.

The "MLK Award" was proudly presented to Mr. Jules, Director of the Africare. It is a special recognition award presented in the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, who did so much to against injustice against humanity. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Award was presented to Ms. Zainab Sidique and Ms. Kadija Jalloh.

Youth for Sierra Leone improvement (Y.S.L.I.) is a non-profit organization founded by educated young people who are determined to improve the lives of the future generations of Sierra Leone. YSLI provides free education for underprivileged orphans and literacy programs for adult women. We also work to provide health care/ counseling for HIV/AIDS individuals and extensive training to our associates and volunteers. We work collectively with others in order to create a positive, challenging environment for our students to actualize their fullest potential.

The primary objective of this organization is to improve the lives of the underprivileged youths in Sierra Leone, West Africa through education. As an organization, we strongly believe that providing quality education for the youth is an important component of the rebuilding efforts, aimed at restoring peace, law and order after the decade long civil war that plagued the country for most of the 1990s. Equipping the youth with quality education will enable them to improve their lives, help eradicate poverty, lawlessness and ultimately prepare them to individually and collectively lead the way in Sierra Leone’s development.