During the COVID-19 lockdown, The Kelvin Doe Foundation invited students in Sierra Leone (ages 13-18) to test their creativity and ingenuity by participating in the SL DIY Tinkering Challenge. the SL DIY Tinkering Challenge was intended to keep the youth of Sierra Leone engaged in learning during the corona pandemic. Participants are to make a homemade invention that solves a problem that’s important to them. It could be a piece of technology built from recycled parts like the radio station Kelvin Doe (aka DJ Focus) built to broadcast news and music in his community.
18-year-old Mariama Sangarie was born in Nimiyama Chiefdom, Kono District, Eastern Province from a poor family. She did her primary school at the Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood (SLMB) at Nimiyama and continued her Junior Secondary School at the Alharrhakan Islamic Secondary School in the same town. After completing her primary and junior secondary school, she moved to Koidu city where she furthered her senior education at the Koidu Secondary School (KSS).
During this Pandemic, She engaged herself in Sensitizing her friends in school as to how they should prevent themself from getting COVID-19. She invented a local wash-hand base and for people to wash their hands and also finding ways as to how she can improve in making her solar back-pack. She visits remote areas to gather more information on how to improve her invention. From her experience in struggling during the nights to study due to lack of electricity to take her younger sister to the streets studying under solar street lights prompted her to invent a solar back-pack enable her and her younger sister to study at home using the solar back-pack.this led her to win le 10,000,000 from the Kelvin Doe Foundation SL DIY Tinkering Challenge.
She received a call from Kelvin Doe that she has won LE 10,000,000. That left her in tears of joy when Mr. Doe told her ‘’Mariama, you are the winner” she said she was like “wow wow!!” She danced, clapped, and shed tears. She said to herself “I finally made it in this competition, poor as I am.” She continued by telling her mom “Mom, I have won LE 10,000,00.”