Salifu Kamara has made an incredible journey from war-torn Sierra Leone, where he was orphaned and disabled, to Washington, DC, where he is weeks away from completing his undergraduate studies at prestigious American University, except he can't pay for his final semesters. To graduate in December, he needs to raise $48,763.40 for outstanding room, board and tuition costs. Any amount is welcome, but $50 from 1,000 people will do it.
There are a million worthy students who need and deserve tuition assistance. Why support Salifu?
- What Salifu has overcome is unimaginable: Losing his family at 10, spending the next several years in the jungle, being disabled by polio, acquiring his own education in Freetown despite lack of formal schooling, making it the United States, being granted asylum as a refugee, and winning admission to an elite university.
- His potential to contribute is high, as he has demonstrated already by concentrating on causes bigger than himself, notably as an advocate for the inclusion of the young and disabled to make societies healthier. His activism has earned him an invitation to speak at the United Nations and saw him honored at the New York State Assembly. He has interned at the World Bank and raised awareness about Ebola.
- He has the charisma of a natural leader. He greets everthing in life with a huge smile, even if he has just walked three blocks up hill on his crutches.
- Those close to him can attest: He has always taken the utmost advantage of anything that has been given him. He has never taken anything for granted.Salifu has overcome the unimaginable already, and clearly has much to contribute to this world, once he gets his degree.
With World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
How did Salifu get this far and run out of money now?
Salifu had a full scholarship to AU. He started strongly, but in spring 2013, he started sending his meal plan money back to Sierra Leone, thinking he could get by without regular meals, as he had as a child. His academic performance fell apart, the semester ended badly, and his GPA dropped down below the level needed to maintain financial aid. Since then, he has worked hard to recover, and by the end of this summer, he got his overall GPA back into the eligible range. Unfortunately, that was too late for the financial aid review process.
Salifu has a lot of supporters at AU, and the school has said he can continue to take classes. However, unless he can come up with $30,047.50 for the fall semester, and $18,715.90 for the summer (tuition, room and board), he won't graduate or be given credit for those classes.
What happens if we don't raise the money?
Salifu, a disabled African refugee, needs a degree to be able to support himself. He has experienced homelessness already. Salifu's friends have provided him practical help across the years, but the need this time is too big. Salifu has much to give back to this world. Contributing to this campaign will make it possible.
We hope we can all join in celebrating Salifu's graduation in December.
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