Chernor Bah: Voice of Courage for Children in Conflict
Chernor Bah was six years old when Sierra Leone’s civil war began, and seven when it upended his life. Over the next several years, he and his family were displaced countless times. “You didn’t go to bed anymore with the same calm confidence that there would be a tomorrow. Every day was a gift now.” Although his home was burned, although community was scattered, Chernor didn’t fall prey to despair or bitterness. Chernor will receive Voices of Courage Award on May 1. Join us for the celebration.
Instead, Chernor responded to these atrocities by becaming a peace activist–and a remarkable one. By the age of 16, he was renowned for his role in creating the Children’s Forum Network. The first of its kind in Sierra Leone, this “children’s parliament” brought children from across the country together, giving them an active role in rebuilding their country. Chernor also presented at the Sierra Leone’s historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission, testifying about the war’s impact on children.
Moving beyond his own borders, he helped to create and manage an innovative adolescent girls program in Ethiopia under the auspices of the Nike Foundation. He was invited to participate in a global education campaign by the UN Secretary General. As a result, the UN established the first Special Envoy office dedicated to global education—and the Special Envoy, Gordon Brown, invited Chernor to lead the office’s youth engagement.
Chernor travels around the world, inspiring and mobilizing young people to stand up for their right to education. He is passionate and articulate, a powerful champion of young people’s rights in conflict-affected situations.
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