The Raining Season would like to introduce Mariama Keita, Communication and Partnership Advisor USAID & TRS Advocate/Sponsor. Mariama wrote about our first gala in Freetown and we are so excited for you to hear it from her directly! Without further ado...
"Imagine a world that every orphan can find a family that offers a safe spaced filled with love to call home. In Sierra Leone, The Raining Season is known as the “home away from home,” for over 100 orphans ranging from infants, special needs to teenagers. After several visits to the orphanage in 2018, I was committed to raise awareness of the TRS story as well as invite a community of donors to support this worthy cause. “It is very difficult in this part of the world, for children’s issues to be given the attention it requires, we therefore want to draw the attention of key stakeholders in the country through programs like this,” said Sorie Kamara, Country Director, The Raining Season.
After on-going discussions and blessings from the U.S. based operations of TRS, during the holiday season, I left Washington D.C. and headed to Sierra Leone to work side by side with TRS staff, Mohammed Kosia, Master of Ceremonies and leader within the Diaspora community. In the spirit of honoring Martin Luther King on January 20, 2019 and his legacy of service, in our personal capacity we organized the first TRS benefit gala on Thursday, December 20, 2018 at Catco International Hotel in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Leading up to the gala, the TRS organizing committee members and melodrama coordinators Bennadette Scott Davis and Pratt Jonathan, among others worked tirelessly with the children’s talent routines. All of the performances were touching to watch and hearing the voice of 15-year-old, Isata Gbebay singing songs titled, "I Close My Eyes" to "Future Generations," brought tears of joy to my eyes. On the day of the gala Isata spiritually moved the audience to stand and cheer. It was through acting, song, and dance the youth of TRS shared their dreams and life story to the people of Sierra Leone.
On the night of December 20th, 2018 the natural talent of TRS orphans captivated an audience of over 300 people in attendance with a range from entrepreneurs, dignitaries to national companies and brands that include Greenfield Farm, UBA, Moore Stephens, IPAM Lectureurs, Swiss Hotel and Nassit to name a few. As many Sierra Leonean members from the Diaspora returned home for the holidays (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) Aminata Cisse based in New York shared, “To see how talented the young kids were, was overwhelming and I was totally blown away with the TRS staff.”
The evening line-up included an area of special guests and performances. This included one of Sierra Leone's youngest rising stars Leonus-Di-Genius, a poem by Vicky to Mr. Sidique About-Bakerr Wai, newly appointed Ambassador for Sierra Leone in Washington D.C. and Deputy Minister, Mohamed Haji-Kella for Social Welfare, Gender and Children provided keynote remarks and pledges of support.
The mood in the room was filled with compassion, as individuals felt inspired to increase their level of commitment of in-kind donations. "The TRS gala was an eyeopener for me. I never knew a charity of this nature existed in Freetown and I plan to make a contribution and raise awareness fo their work," said fashion brand owner Madam Wokie.
The TRS orphanage has big dreams and co-founder Abioseh Kamara, launched in 2018 the ROOTS project. During the gala, the Director Charles Currie and his wife who are instrumental in running the Roots home shared TRS Vision 2030 campaign. The primary focus is to develop a farming system that supports workforce development, build and own their own housing facilities to increase the intake of more orphans.
As the night came to an end, we were all overjoyed and filled with hope to continue to increase more partnerships and sponsorship opportunities by Sierra Leoneans themselves to make TRS self-reliant. In less than a month we raised an estimated $14,000.00 USD. I left Sierra Leone with these departing words, "Tonight is our first attempt to raise awareness of this orphanage within Sierra Leone. We do not want the momentum of this evening to end for these are all God's children and simply miracles. Thank you to TRS for allowing me to be a messenger and advocate dedicated to share and support your story."
***Mariama Keita, Communications and Partnership Advisor USAID & TRS Advocate/Sponsor
***Left to right - Hawa Kanu, Fatmata Carew, and Sulayman Will, TRS orphans
***Josephine John, TRS Talent
***Augusta Kamara, TRS Pastor's wife & Sam B Laggah
**Andres, CEO of Xcallibur based in Spain and Mariama Sow based in Washington, D.C. jumped on stage and joined in during the final performance of the TRS Freetown, Gala.
***Vicky the poet and child performer well known in Sierra Leone.