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Meet Haja Aminata Kabba-Kamara – Mother of Rutgers University Wide Receiver, Mohamed Sanu

Meet Haja Aminata Kabba-Kamara – Mother of Rutgers University Wide Receiver, Mohamed Sanu

Haja Aminata Kabba-Kamara is well-known in the Calaba Town Community and even beyond.  Aside from having a home that is strategically located in the area – conspicuous, exotic and known by everyone as ‘American Compound,’ she has been helping and assisting people in dire need in her community. If it is not helping out a young girl that has just dropped out of school, it is paying the school fees of a child that has been sent out of school because the parents could not afford the fees. In an effort to address some of the pressing issues facing her community, she formed the Concerned Women Organization, which was officially launched on Sunday, September 4, 2011. 

In addressing a large number of people that poured in at her vast compound, 3 Mission Road, Calaba Town, on the far East end of Freetown, for the inaugural ceremony, Haja Aminata Kabba-Kamara, founder and president of the nascent organization, had this to say: “Our organization is born out of the desire for women to be empowered and capacitated in a bid to take part in the development of Sierra Leone.”  Giving meaning to the famous Chinese saying that “if you want to plan for a life time and for a whole nation, educate a child, “ Haja informed those gathered that the organization she founded had already provided scholarships to twenty three students with the best results in the NPSE from 23 elementary schools in the Calaba Town Community. “This is our own way of encouraging other students to work hard and excel in public exams like the NPSE, “she stated. She disclosed, to a very thrilled and enthusiastic audience, plans to extend the scholarship program to high school and university levels, and other learning centers across the country. “Helping children has been my passion since I returned home,” Haja Aminata revealed in an exclusive. 

Unlike the United States of America, where education is a right, education is a privilege in a developing country like Sierra Leone, where illiteracy is extremely high. A child may be very brilliant and intelligent, but if the parents cannot afford the fees, that child’s future is doomed. The dream of becoming a doctor, lawyer or engineer is shattered by poverty. Having seen the poor environment from which most of the children are raised, the lack of learning resources and even a good physical structure, Haja Aminata Kabba decided to do something to make a difference. She called several women in the community, discussed the problems facing the children in the community, especially during the rainy season. “We should do whatever it takes to have a building that will accommodate more children; a building in which water will not enter the classroom because of a leaking roof. “ 

To accomplish this very important goal, Concerned Women Organization is hoping to raise $15,000 to $25,000 from now to 2012. While these figures may seem paltry to build a school by American standard, they mean a whole lot to people in Sierra Leone in putting up a cement-block building; something far better than most of the school buildings presently found in the Calaba Town Community.

 Paraphrasing the late President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, Haja Aminata impressed upon her audience: “We must learn to ask ourselves: what have we done for our country? Instead of: what can our country do for us? “Among other things, she said “the Concerned Women Organization is geared toward actualizing President Koroma’s call for Attitudinal and Behavioral change and to help in rebranding Sierra Leone for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans.”

In his remarks, during the launching ceremony, Mr. Henry Kassim, Task Force Manager for the Election of Haja Aminata Kabba-Kamara, Constituency 96, to the Sierra Leone Parliament in the 2012 Election, said “the government should create the enabling environment for women to participate effectively in politics. The people should have the liberty and freedom to choose their representatives.” He deplored the fact that some candidates were imposed on the people in the last election. Having had the opportunity of working closely with Haja Aminata Kabba-Kamara over the years on a myriad of issues affecting the Calaba Town Community, he made this endorsement: 

l-r Haja Jabbie, Mohamed Sanu, Haja Amina Kabba-Kamara


“Considering all the good things she has done in our community: paying fees for needy students, providing scholarships to deserving students, and even providing employment for some of the youth in our community, she is more than qualified to represent us in parliament.” He went on to add:”Aside from having a good track record of getting things done, she is a true leader – she inspirers, motivates and energizes others to do those things that will benefit not only our community but the country as a whole. And these are the women needed in actualizing the president’s agenda for change.” 

Apart from the people within Calaba Town that attended, the official launching of the Concerned Women Organization attracted many people from different communities. There were representatives and traditional leaders from other Communities. Also on hand were School representatives within the Calaba Town Community and APC executive members for Constituency 96. The historic event was graced by a dazzling array of religious dignitaries and eminent personalities that included, Sheik Alhassan Kargbo, Pastor Kamanda, Hon. Sheriff Hassan, Madam Juliet Norman, Mr. Mac Mamoud Kalokoh, Mrs. Fatmata Kamara, Madam Mabel Tarawallie, and Mr. Ibrahim Max Kanu. Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Raymond Kabia, who officially launched the CWO, delivered the keynote address.  Mrs. Neneh John Fewry, chairlady, Concerned Women Organization, gave the vote of thanks. 

Born in Freetown, daughter of the late Mohamed Koroma and Fatmata Sesay of 6 York Street, Haja Aminata Kabba-Kamara (nee Koroma) left the shores of Sierra Leone in 1975 for the United States of America, after working for one year as a clerk at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. She landed the job immediately after graduating from the Bishop Johnson Memorial School, Fourah Bay Road, Freetown. On arriving in New Brunswick, New Jersey, she enrolled at Middlesex County College, Edison, New Jersey, where she studied Criminal Justice. She later went on to Bryman Academy, East Brunswick, where she received training as a dental assistant.

Before leaving the United States to set up her own business in Freetown, she attended the Wilfred Academy in Newark to study Cosmetology and Entrepreneurship.  In 1986, after spending more than ten years in New Jersey, she returned home to establish a School of Cosmetology along Fourah Bay Road, on the east end of Freetown. It was geared toward training young men and women for the job market; helping them to be self-employed.  Many young men and women are today gainfully employed because of the school of Cosmetology she established. 

In 2008, Haja Aminata created a new business venture known as AMIKAB Enterprise, a wholesale and retail store at 3 Mission Road, Calaba Town.  Besides making available those items that are in daily demand in the community, she also provided employment for some of the young men and women in the Calaba Town Community. Little wonder Mr. Henry Kassim is so thrilled and excited about leading the campaign to elect Haja Aminata Kabba for Parliament in 2012. “Haja has served the community tremendously, and we’ve no doubt that if elected she will do more for our community.”

Though she is now permanently residing in Sierra Leone, she comes to visit her children in New Jersey very often. Her daughter, Mrs. Haja Fatmata Jabbie, who holds a master’s in human resources management, was Human Resources Manager at Parker Home in Somerset, New Jersey. She is currently employed as Director of Human Resources for a Philadelphia-based company. Haja Fatmata Jabbie resides in Dayton, New Jersey, with her loving family. The younger brother of Haja Jabbie, Samir Abu Bakar Sanu Jnr., who holds a bachelor’s from William Paterson University, New Jersey, is a history teacher and coach at Sayreville Memorial High School. He resides in Sayreville, New Jersey.  

Haja Aminata Kabba-Kamara is currently here in New Jersey for the football season to watch her youngest son, Mohahamed Sanu, Rutgers University Wide receiver. A third year student, Criminal Justice, Mohamed Sanu has not only set an unprecedented record in Rutgers University football history, his name has dominated national headlines as one of the best wide receivers in college football in recent memory. Sanu won the most valuable player award, Rutgers University team (2009); and the Viking Coaches Award (2007). If all goes well, he will soon make it to the National Football League {NFL). “Words cannot adequately express how happy and proud I’m,” says Haja Aminata Kabba Kamara, who intends to leave at the end of the football season for Sierra Leone to start her campaign for the 2012 election.” 

A hardworking, dedicated, committed and selfless woman, Haja Aminata Kabba-Kamara was very instrumental in the formation of “Sarbeh Rim Diin” in Somerset, New Jersey – an organization of Sierra Leoneans of northern descent, formed to enhance and promote unity among northerners, at a time when northerners seem so fragmented, and the victims of a kind of pogrom carried out by ill-motivated and misguided SLPP supporters. The gory killing of prominent Northerners like Temne Tribal leader, Western Area, Abu Black, popular businessman Mohamed Bangura “Sakoma,”and Alhaji Musa Kabia, a former deputy minister, served as a wakeup call.

 “We’ve to come together and identify ourselves as northerners to put an end to the madness. We’ve to come together to send a clear message that we’ll not sit by and watch the annihilation of our people, “Haja stated, in making her case for the formation of a northern organization over seven years ago. “All of us, speaking with one voice,” to move forward,  which was her brainchild, proved to be very vital in the formation of the All People’s Congress, New Jersey Chapter – a chapter that paved the way for the formation of many APC Chapters in the United States of America.

To this day, the New Jersey Chapter continues to play a leading role in the affairs of the APC in North America. Just recently the chapter played host to His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and his high-powered delegation to the UN General Assembly.

Submitted by Dauda Bangura, Sierra Leone Herald Tribune 

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