Last week I launched a GoFundMe to raise funds to bring local content stories to national TV and online. We are halfway to our goal in the first week, thanks to generous donations from the community.
Everyone has a purpose, and we must find that purpose. For many years I wondered why of all the places in the world I was born in Sierra Leone. Why here? Why a place whose near and recent history robs me of my dignity. I have always felt Sierra Leone was shortchanging me. It owed me ‘development’. I felt Sierra Leone owed me peace. It owed me job opportunities and gender equality. Sierra Leone owed me.
Feeling that the debt would not be paid I moved to Ghana. I was going to focus on myself and my growth. I was going to focus on making money and building a business. Sierra Leone was not my responsibility. No to me born Salone. That was 2012.
Two years after that Ebola struck. Then iron ore prices slumped, and exports from Sierra Leone trickled to a halt. Then after ebola, the mudslide. Each time tragedy hit home; it left me psychologically impaired. Friends from across the world would reach out. Vickie, I heard about Sierra Leone? What’s going on? How is your family? My family was always out of harm’s way, but it was no less devastating. The victims may not be my direct kin, but they are my clan.
While I can go anywhere and thrive, my well being tied to my people and my country. If Salone noh betteh, ah noh go betteh. We are all allegories for our countries until we stop being citizens. Our individual stories are either song of praise or lamentations.
Sierra Leone has come from the brink; we are on the rebound. Last year we had elections. I came home beforehand to make sure that I participated. We voted in a new government and one year in progress is slow but I’m feeling positive about where we are headed.
I am positive because of a couple of things; we are finally fighting corruption with over 1 billion leones ($1 million) recovered from corrupt government officials, we have invested 21% of our national development budget on education to ensure that we nurture our most important resource; our people. Then in February the highest office in the land declared a national emergency on sexual violence and told the world that our girls and our women’s lives matter. Lastly, Sierra Leone has launched an agency for ST&I using technology to inform policy and decision making. We are on the right track.
But there is still much work to be done. It is overwhelming.
We are still a low-income country primarily financed by loans and aid. The government needs to raise over a billion dollars to finance its 5-year national development. Fuel subsidies have been removed, and the leone has hit historic lows. As we fight to climb up, sacrifices must be made by everyday citizens already toughing it out for basic survival. “Di gron dri” meaning the ground is dry is the idiom of the day. It expresses how citizens feel about the current economic climate. Times are hard.
Before now there was lots more money in circulation. Big-spending and largesse was the order of the day. Those in positions of power used government money like their treasure trove. In so doing, state workers suffered; teachers, nurses, and doctors went unpaid. The government of the day could not pay its bills and survived on bank overdraft. The loopholes that created a thriving ecosystem for graft have been significantly closed. The government that we elected last year is meeting its obligations every month by paying workers and on time. The channel from which misappropriated money once flowed have come to a halt — pump don lock.
The challenge is two-fold. On the one hand, we must support the wellbeing of our citizens through these challenging times, while we create a social paradigm shift where dignity in labor, merit, and excellence become the standard to make the ground flourish. I am a storyteller; writing is my gift. My voice is revered because it cuts across our community at home and in the diaspora. I was born here to serve. My purpose is to use my gift and my voice to tell our stories. I must use my platform to tell stories to nourish the hearts and minds of Sierra Leoneans as they make the sacrifices needed for positive change. Stories to keep them believing in the possibilities here at home even though the results are yet unseen. Stories about hope, grit, and excellence in Sierra Leone by Sierra Leoneans. Yes, it is hard here, challenging and back-breaking but everything we wish for and hope for is possible here. The more we highlight what is being done, those leading change in business, innovation, women’s rights, and good governance, the more we harness out of citizens.
I’m asking for your support to help me fulfill my purpose to tell stories for and about Sierra Leone. To use my voice, my platform and my gift to serve as a modern-day griot for the people of Salone.
Your contributions will go towards production equipment and the making of video stories for the Vickie Remoe Show and films, PSAs, and documentaries. The last season of the Vickie Remoe Show which I funded alone covered ten episodes. We filmed in Sierra Leone and Liberia. That season was broadcast on AYV TV at the start of the year.
Make a gift of any amount, and you become one of many supporters committed to #MakeSierraLeoneFamous for all the right reasons.
If you can’t make a gift at this time, please share the campaign link on your social media pages with a small note about why you believe that local stories are powerful and necessary.
Thank You! This is the link to share or to make a gift. For More About The Fundraiser Click Here.