Click here to watch the short film "The Mohamed Sidibay Story", a 6:48 minute short film created 2013, in USA by Mohamed Sidibay with mentorship by "Listen Up" and "The MY HERO Project" (about "My Hero Project")
"Beyond Borders" a film featuring Mohamed Sidibay at 10 years old in Sierra Leone talking about the war and child soldiers.
"I've come to realize that your past and present make you what you are. You are the future leaders of tomorrow. That's not a lie. You are going to change the world... Start by changing yourself, because when you change yourself, you change the person next to you, your friends, your family - the ripple effect."
Article: Faces of Global Dignity, Canada 2013
Instead, he spent the next 5 years as a child soldier in Sierra Leone's civil war, a bloody conflict that took at least 30,000 lives. He was forced to kill, to take drugs, to see death in all its forms.
He lost everything - his freedom, his childhood, his education, his family, and especially, the right to question, to ask "Why?" Yet Sidibay "didn't let that decide my future." He was nearly 10 when the war ended - brought to a close not so much by the U.N. Peacekeeping force that finally stepped in, but by the people themselves, who finally began to question the conflict, and ask, "Why?"
In Freetown, unwanted and unwelcome as a former child soldier, Sidibay drifted. He used drugs, "overwhelmed" by anger. "I didn't know who I was." It was only when a friend persuaded him to become involved with a program run by iEARN, an international education and resource network, that he found his way.
"All of a sudden, I was surrounded by people who valued education," Sidibay said. "Give a man an education and he can rebuild the world. Education is what got me here. Education is what made me what I am."
That's where teacher Mali Bickley, then at W.H. Day Elementary School (Canada), first met Sidibay. A co-chair of iEARN Canada, Bickley and her grade 5 class communicated with the former child soldier via the internet, and raised funds to help support him for several years.