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Juju Jeks – Juliet Konya Sesay: The Girl Who Defied All Odds To Become A Change Maker.

A change maker is someone who defied all odds, imagines a new reality, takes collective action and collaborates with others to bring that new reality into being for the good of others. Juliet Konya Sesay, otherwise known as Juju Jeks is a true definition of a change maker.

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Juju Jeks was pregnant at a young age of 15 years. She endured a difficult childhood experience. The challenges Juju Jeks encountered during the pregnancy had a terrible impact on her wellbeing and family. But despite the shock of her situation, Juju Jeks never lost hope. She started on a journey of recovery, studying and working for a better future. After giving birth, she returned to school to continue with her studies.

Image: Juju Jeks and her beautiful daughter at a movie premier.

Juju Jeks has graduated from university and she is now an accomplished Multimedia Entrepreneur, Actress, and a Strong Girl who defied all odds to become a change maker. She is among the leading social media influencers in her country –Sierra Leone and the co-founder and CEO of Tik Tok Stars in Sierra Leone.

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Image: Juju Jeks received an award for her incredible work.

GETTING PREGNANT

Growing up in a local community in Freetown, Juju Jeks saw her friends and people around her lose their futures to child marriage and teenage pregnancy. In her country, many girls —exposed to risk, shackled by poverty, underdevelopment, and held back by gender inequalities and traditional barriers— never received an education and are unable to pursue their dreams.

Young Juju Jeks

Juju Jeks was an innocent teenager, growing up happily in Freetown with her hard working parents, older brothers and other relatives. School was going well and she was ambitious and determined to make difference in this world. Her whole world was her family, and friends.

But Juju Jeks had her world changed when she learned she was pregnant, at aged 15.

‘’One day while at home, I was feeling sick and came down with bad stomach cramps so bad that I had to seek medical support. At first, I took treatment at home, as I thought it was just the usual malaria and typhoid. But I was not getting better. So one day, my Dad said to my Mom: ‘’I know young girls, and based on my experience, there is something wrong with our daughter’’. My Dad then suggested that my Mom takes me to the hospital for pregnancy test.  We went to the hospital. But we were told by the doctors that it is not a pregnancy, but typhoid. We returned home and for over six months, I was not seeing my period. I thought it was just a ‘blockage’ or other health condition since the doctors had advised that I was not pregnant. So I was cool with it, my belly was not growing and I still had a flat belly. I was not sick, I was not weak, I was not vomiting and I did not experience the common signs of pregnancy at all’’, Juju Jeks tells SM Media of her first encounter with the doctors for a pregnancy test.

Juju Jeks in her Teens
Juju Jeks in her teens

Juju Jeks said she only became aware about her pregnancy during a school lesson. ‘’So it was at school during a class lesson on a subject ‘Management In Living’ where my teacher explained the signs of pregnancy. And I noticed that I had some of the signs. For example, there was a particular perfume that I used to like but since I got pregnant I hated the perfume. The perfume sign got me curious and frightened. But I was still going on with life as normal. My breast started getting big. At about 7 month and 3 weeks, I was in the room wearing my uniform for school when my Mom just entered my room unexpectedly. My Mom noticed that I was pregnant after seeing a black mark on my belly. At first, I denied that I was not pregnant, but my Mom started crying. My father was upset and stopped speaking to me. I went to the hospital again. The doctors were first in denial about the duration of the pregnancy until after the test was conducted and then the doctors confirmed that I was over 8 months pregnant. It was there, in one difficult moment, that everything changed – I was pregnant, at aged 15. My highly respected family members, very traditional and religious parents were upset. It brought shame to the family’’. Juju Jeks recounted her experience about being told she was pregnant.

Juju Jeks

Pregnancy came as a total shock to Juju Jeks and her parents; she had no idea about contraception and abortion. Like many children in Africa or across the world, Juju Jeks had no one to speak to about sex education as her parents are very committed to tradition and religious beliefs. ’So I was on my own and in my own little world, vulnerable and had nobody to speak to, and no caring mentor to seek advice from on such sensitive topics –considered a taboo in society. I was looking very normal and I had no other pregnancy signs, so my parents never suspected that I was expecting a baby. It took months for my parents to suspect. I know I was young to be having sex but I wasn’t alone – most of my crowd of friends were in relationships and having sex, and I had been with my boyfriend in the same community who is also a teenager for some months. It was a huge pressure or ultimatum to either prove my love for him or he ends the relationship. I did not want to lose him, I loved him so much and so I had no option but to give in’’ Juju Jeks tells SM Media of the difficult situation she was trapped in.

Juju Jeks growing up in Freetown.

COPING WITH TEENAGE PREGNANCY

Most of the criticism and blame game are still aimed at young girls, whereas boys are almost expected to want to have sex freely – and certainly aren’t considered to have wrecked their lives if they father a child. Girls are seen as cheap and out of control, spoken about negatively in the community in the same hushed breath reserved for discussing failures in society, and certainly seen as running wild, with no sense of responsibility and accountability. ‘’I was young, but I wasn’t irresponsible.  My parents provided all the required support and I was living a good life in a beautiful house. But it is also a challenge for our society and our boys who otherwise lack any parental control or mentorship and are out there to prey on innocent girls’’, Juju Jeks stated.

Juju Jeks described how she was upset, depressed by the gossip put about by her community that she was young to be pregnant. She said she was saddened some people wanted to be nasty. ‘’If I’d had the option, I would never have got pregnant. I was 16 when my beautiful daughter was born, but at that age you have such low self-esteem and you don’t know yourself. Being thrown into such an adult situation was difficult, and a supportive family and caring mentors made such a crucial difference to my confidence and wellbeing. Although I was worried I wouldn’t be good enough, I would try with the support of my family. At the end, my Mum, Dad, my brothers and other relatives were thrilled I’d decided to keep my daughter and have always supported that decision, in many ways. Looking back, I have no regret and I am grateful to God for keeping me strong and being able to progress in life. I am lucky but I am not sure other young girls would be lucky and so I would say wait and and don’t allow misguided boys or selfish adults to impregnate you and risk your future. I am no longer in a relationship with the teenage boy who impregnated me – we separated and so there was no point in making all the sacrifice for him. He is no longer there’’.  Juju Jeks advices young girls.

BACK TO SCHOOL

 Going back to school was hard for Juju Jeks. She wanted to be the best student in her school but she quickly became aware of how the community, friends and teachers’ perceptions of her had changed. ‘’Some were supportive and encouraging and others just believed that there is no future for me – that I had a had a bright future and thrown it away. It was then that I understood how bad the general perception is of teenage mums and unplanned pregnancy. Eleven years on, I don’t think much has changed in my country. It is still a taboo. So society has a responsibility to tackle the problem – no girl should be pregnant or suffer during pregnancy. I think both our girls and boys need equal support and guidance. Our young people have to be careful. Don’t sacrifice your future”, Juju Jeks encourages teenagers and communities to take positive action. ‘’ .

 

Juju Jeks had her primary education at the prestigious Mereweather private school in Freetown and secondary school education at the St Joseph’s Convent secondary school in Freetown and Methodist Girls High School in Freetown. After graduating from high school, she enrolled at Njala University of Sierra Leone to pursue a degree in Social Work. In 2022, she graduated from the university, with a BSc Hons in Social Work Degree. Her interest in social work was informed by her personal experience, as she wanted to be a change maker and to help contribute to addressing issues affecting girls and local communities. ‘’ I always wanted to contribute to society and be a role model for young girls. I don’t want any young girl to go through my experience of being pregnant at a young age. I want to help create positive structures in communities, schools and in the families to tackle teenage pregnancy by providing caring mentors, safe spaces and wellbeing for girls and as well as promote multimedia platforms for young people to be able to speak out’’, Juju Jeks tells SM Media about her mission.

Juju Jeks
Juju Jeks committed to promoting girls and multimedia technologies

Juju Jeks has been selected for the Commonwealth Global mentoring programme, with a view to explore opportunities to study for a Master’s degree, and to also pursue her acting career..

JUJU JEKS AS AN ACTRESS AND CHANGE MAKER.

Juju Jeks resolved at a young age to become an actress and change maker. As a student, she took part in amateur plays and she has been featured in movie series in the country.

Along with her film career, she promotes humanitarian causes and is vocal about girls and women’s empowerment, working to create a better future for girls like herself across the African continent and the world at large through education, mentoring and multimedia technologies for social change.

 

Juju Jeks in beautiful African dress

Juju Jeks is a National Youth Service Corp (NYSC). She abandoned her comfort zones to join the NYS, and spent weeks in a training camp. She has been certified by the Government of Sierra Leone’s youth programme as a National Youth Service Corp, recognising her as a Youth Ambassador. NYS aims to create work opportunities and sustainable livelihoods for young persons; instill in participants a sense of responsibility and of service to the country; gain a sense of self-respect and respect for authority; understand the values of discipline, democracy, citizenship and cooperation; and foster social cohesion.

Juju Jeks at the NYSC camp on national service

‘’I love cooking, I love music, I love acting, I love dancing, I love multimedia technologies, I love my beautifully country and I love culture.  I also have found an interest in surfing and wellbeing programmes to engage and empower young people. I love the beach and the waves’’,

Juju tells SM Media about her hobbies. Juju Jeks has  also joined the Wave Alliance in Sierra Leone– an alliance of community organisations that is providing safe spaces, caring mentors, and a provision of weekly Surf Therapy sessions. The programme gives young people skills to cope with stress, regulate behaviour, build healing relationships, and make positive life choices.

 

Juju Jeks surfing at the Number 2 Beach in Freetown

JUJU JEKS AS AN ENTREPRENEUR AND SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER

The Sierra Leonean-born multimedia entrepreneur was recently recognised by the Commonwealth Global platform, as an emerging business leader and change maker. Juju Jeks is the Founder of Juju Graphic Designs and Juju Jeks Multimedia, a network that empowers other young leaders, entrepreneurs, and major brands by creating and distributing contents and stories to multimedia outlets in Sierra Leone and abroad. Juju Jeks is co-founder and CEO of Tik Tok Stars Association in Sierra Leone. Ltd.  Juju Jeks is one of the leading Tik Tok Stars in Sierra Leone and with massive followers.

Juju Jeks is a multi-award-winning changer maker, actress and blogger.  As a founder of a Multimedia platform, the 26-year-old is behind some of the most successful social-media campaign strategies for some big brands and entertainment projects in her country.

Juju Jeks uses social media platforms to influence change d.
Juju Jeks uses social media platforms to influence change d.

 

 

Juju Jeks poster at the Housemates reality TV show auditions in Freetown

Juju Jeks has been selected by the judges of the Housemates as among the top contestants to be considered by a public vote to be a housemate.  over 20 contestants made up of young men and women from different social backgrounds and experiences across Sierra Leone, Africa and the Diaspora (America, Europe, Asia), live in a house for seven weeks and compete for prizes. The show which is aired on DSTV is being proudly produced by the Africa Young Voices (AYV) Media Empire – lead TV in the country and Africell-Sierra Leone- lead telecommunications company in the country.

JUJU JEKS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT.

 The Housemates Salone Reality TV show is surely a huge platform to boost your social media advantage, and Juju Jeks is now seeking to surely use the show to her gain. She has been shortlisted by the judges as among the top qualifiers.

The official Instagram account of Juju Jeks is @juju_jeks

The official Twitter account of Juju Jeks is @jujujeks

The official Facebook page of Juju Jeks is @jujujeks

The official Tik Tok account of Juju Jeks is @juju_jeks

The official Utube account of Juju Jeks is @Juju Jeks – Juliet Konya Sesay

Email: Sjulietkonya@gmail.com

Phone: +232 99981046 (SL)

Photo collections of Juju Jeks.

 

 

 

 

Salone Messenger

Salone Messenger is a Global Multimedia and Public Relation Firm that brings young emerging leaders, bloggers, activists, and storytellers to tell inspiring stories of change-makers and build a community of young people telling human interest stories using smartphones.

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