, 751172, DIRECT, d4c29acad76ce94f

Salone Messenger

Reading: A single mother who battled with cancer to death son wins Commonwealth Youth Awards: The True Life Story Of Jeremiah Thoronka
Reading: A single mother who battled with cancer to death son wins Commonwealth Youth Awards: The True Life Story Of Jeremiah Thoronka

A single mother who battled with cancer to death son wins Commonwealth Youth Awards: The True Life Story Of Jeremiah Thoronka

Post Views: 339
Sallu Kamuskay
By Sallu Kamuskay 325 Views 8 Min Read
8 Min Read

Sierra Leoneaan Jeremiah Thoronka is among this year’s
Twenty extraordinary young individuals including inventors, activists and entrepreneurs from 18 countries that was announced as finalists for this year’s Commonwealth Youth Awards.

Jeremiah’s project has helped power over 150 households and 15 schools in Sierra Leone at minimal cost, which has benefitted over 10,000 people, and provides best practice training on energy efficiency and conservation to the younger generation.

The awards recognize outstanding Commonwealth young people whose projects are transforming lives in their communities and helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

More than 1,000 entries from 43 Commonwealth countries were received last year. The finalists were selected across each of the award’s regional categories following a rigorous judging process.

Here is an interview with Sallu Kamuskay and Jeremiah Thoronka, the winner from Sierra Leone, son of single parent whose mother battled with cancer while trying to pay his fees.

1)You tweeted about you being a child of a single parent, tell us about your experience growing up with your single parent?

“I grow up in different places, under different circumstance and, all of these cause different effects on my life. I am who I am today because of the experiences that I’ve faced. Since birth, my survival anchored on my mum. During the most challenging and definitive period of my life, it was my mum that took up the responsibility of two young boys. As many young kids with since parents who are illiterate, we were not spared from the stereotype that comes with kids living with their mum. Taking care of two young boys just after the civil war from a hous- help job while battling breast cancer was very challenging for her, I witnessed how she has to take loans, credits, join osusu etc in making sure we get everything we wanted even though that was not always the case. I could sense the stress, trauma, and depression she has to go through every night when it’s time to refund those loans and credit. The struggles she went through in making ends meet was her daily routine.

However, growing up with a single parent is special, even though it’s not easy. The greatest lesson I learnt from her is “if you don’t like your situation, then create your destiny” Rather unfortunately, we lost this amazing woman to cancer in 2017, but her legacy of perseverance and dedication to a cause lives in every breath I take.”

2) Tell us about yourself and experience growing up in Sierra Leone?

“I am an Experienced Renewable energy entrepreneur and scholar with a demonstrated history of working as an Author and Entrepreneur in the sector.
In Sierra Leone, over 89% of the population suffers from energy deficiency. In my community, firewood and charcoal were the only sources of light and heat for necessities such as students studying or families cooking food. Photochemical smog – a negative consequence of burning coal – causes air pollution, water pollution and respiratory problems among peers in his community. I used my skills in science to develop Optim Energy, an innovative piezoelectric device that harnesses energy from heat, vibrations and weather, all which naturally occur in the environment, to create affordable, accessible and clean power. Since 2017, I have grown Optim Energy into a larger initiative aiming to build a sustainable energy sector in Sierra Leone, diminish greenhouse gas emissions and educate citizens on climate change. Optim Energy has powered 150 homes and student centers free of cost to date. I was recognized as a 2019 United Nations Academic Impact and Millennium Campus Network Fellow and invited to present at the 2019 African Leadership University School of Wildlife Conservation Conference. I was recognised as a Student Energy Fellow, and also serving as a Global Youth Ambassador for Theirworld. I am currently working to improve the Optim Energy prototype to provide a higher voltage of power and officially launch the product. In 2020, I will officially establish the Sierra Leone Student Energy and Conservation organization to foster a generation of energy conservation leaders through service, research, and awareness. I am on a mission to rewrite the African energy access narrative by providing clean, affordable energy to the entire continent. I attended the Baptist Model Primary School in Grafton and then proceeded to the Saint Edward’s Secondary School in Kingtom before admitted among the first cohort of leaders at the African Leadership University in Rwanda. Jeremiah studied Global Challenges with a focus on Energy and Climate Change.”

3. You were listed for this year’s Commonwealth awards. How do you feel about this recognition?

“It’s amazing to be internationally recognized for how your project (s) or initiative (s) are changing lives. About a year ago, I was recognized as a Global Teen Leader for my role in making Energy accessible in my local community, but been recognized by the commonwealth as a change-maker is something worth celebrating. This recognition is a testament to how single mothers are doing everything possible in making their kids achieve dreams they were never able to achieve.”

4)Tell us about the problems you are trying to solve back home and what inspired you.

“Sierra Leone’s existing energy systems are old angled and thus unable to meet the country’s current and projected energy demand. Access to modern energy services remains limited, which results in over 89% of the population living without electricity and nearly 96% relying on traditional solid biomass for cooking. Sierra Leoneans have become accustomed to the constant interruption in electricity flow since the power grid that was supposed to provide electricity has not been able to meet demand. Worse yet, the country’s aging infrastructure is increasingly outdated.

Reliable and stable electrical power grids are indispensable to the seamless running of industries, homes, and businesses. The connection of large generation stations through high voltage transmission systems have been impaired by the constant power outage and the inefficiency of systems to withstand the change in demand. Over time, many have realized and come to the conclusion the current grid systems are dangerously prone to failure. As a result, most industries and businesses rely on diesel generators to meet their energy needs. As a young energy enthusiast aiming to solve these challenges, I aim to use entrepreneurial leadership in developing new and improved energy systems that will be sustainable and equitable for generations to come.”

5) What is your message to young people in Sierra Leone?

“Don’t wait for change, you are the change maker you seek. Take that risk, take up that challenge, and brainstorm like no one before you. The solutions we seek are within our hands.”

Stay Updated

Share this Article
Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean communication strategist, fixer, blogger, youth organiser, event manager, spokesperson, and public relations expert. His work has been regularly referenced and published by national and international media and public policy institutions. Sallu Kamuskay was a child during the brutal war in Sierra Leone. Growing up in the midst of conflict, Sallu witnessed unimaginable abuse of children and gross violations of human rights. The horrors he witnessed during the Civil War had a terrible impact on him at a very tender age. But despite the shock of the war, Sallu never lost hope. He started on a journey of recovery, studying, and working for a better future. At age 15, Sallu entered into the world of activism and advocacy. Sallu Kamuskay was the Vice President of the Young Leaders Organisation, a member of the National Youth Council. The Young Leaders is one of the oldest youth-led organisations in West Africa. The organisation was formed by a group of young leaders, and launched by the then Head of State/President of Sierra Leone. Sallu was part of the group of young leaders who participated in and contributed to the establishment of the National Youth Council. The Commonwealth supported the training for trainers programme with line ministries and youth stakeholders in which key, representatives of youth council, student union and civil society/private sector youth platforms were engaged and empowered in the effective engagement and inclusion of youth. Sallu is co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global multimedia and public relations firm based In Sierra Leone. Sallu has worked on various developmental and policy issues such as Poverty, Climate Change, Human rights, Child Rights, Education, Health, Gender Equality, Civic Engagement, Government policies, Information Communication Technology for Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, and has also been contributing to various global events and advocacy campaigns. Sallu Kamuskay is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global Multimedia and Public Relations Firm based in Sierra Leone with the latest news and information, on top stories, business, politics, entertainment, and more. Sallu is working with a leading technology company in Africa, Techfrica, that has recently developed and launched a social media, messaging Supfrica with over 150,000 downloads on the Google play store in less than 4 days. He is the Adviser and Media coordinator for the App to give people the platform to connect and communicate to help shape their future with a very fast internet that allows users that live in deprived and hard-to-reach areas with poor internet facility to be able to communicate as it allows and stronger on 2 and 3 G network reception. Sallu has over 9 years of experience in youth engagement, inclusion, and coordination both at local and global levels, giving voice to young people and engaging young people to build a better world. He has served as coordinator for the Wave Alliance which brought together youth-led organisations who attended an international training in South Africa organized by the International Organization – Waves for Change. Sallu is working with the MLT, Waves For Change, and the Government to develop safe spaces for young people, with a view to contributing to the overall development goals of young people including health, as well as to community rebuilding. Sallu is currently the Programme Director for the Wave Alliance, which is a coalition of youth-led and community-based organisations that have successfully introduced evidence-based Surf Therapy programs to young people in communities, with a focus on mental health, peace building and sustainable development. Sallu is currently the focal point and face of Africa’s Faces Social media platform which is a global Social media platform that brings together people from across the world to share their moments, connect, share videos, and interact with friends giving more preference to excluded continents like Africa. Sallu Kamuskay has devoted his time to working for or contributing to a number of national and international organizations and companies, including the Techfrica Technology Company, United Nations, ECOWAS, European Union, Commonwealth Africa Initiatives. This work has led him to travel to a number of countries to contribute to global youth platforms. Sallu is the lead Coordinator for Peace Tour programme, an initiative supported by the European Union, Africa Union, ECOWAS focusing on uniting and empowering young people and local communities. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.