Support Sulcut, Meeky and Francess to Spread the Light of Yoga
Purpose: We wish to create a scholarship fund to support Sulcut, Meeky and Francess - three Sierra Leonean poets, singers, song-writers whose home has been on the streets over many years - in undertaking an intensive 18-month yoga training. They will pay their scholarships forward by teaching yoga to others, helping to heal the scars of trauma in children and vulnerable people in their communities.
Sierra Leone - Yoga to Build a Better World
In this classical yoga training, participants undergo a process of self-transformation, then support the healing of their communities.The training focuses on sharing tools that promote a peaceful and gradual social and environmental change, generating new habits that help improve the mental and physical health of the people of Sierra Leone. This way it creates better living conditions in the present and possibilities to build a fair and decent future.
The project will impact more than 1,000 children and 300 vulnerable adults during 2022. As Sulcut, Meeky and Francess can testify, children in Sierra Leone face severe obstacles to their development. Most pressingly, children are at risk of child labour, violence and sexual abuse, child marriage and adolescent pregnancy. These risks, combined with systemic poverty, poor health conditions and lack of access to education, endanger all children in the country.
The stories of Sulcut, Meeky and Francess
One of twelve children, Sulcut (Sulaiman Bangura) spent his childhood in poverty and his youth in refugee camps in Guinea. On his return to Sierra Leone he struggled for survival on the street. He is a poet and song-writer. Meeky (Michael Samuel Kamara), a singer-songwriter, also made the street his home in his teens. Like Sulcut, he has learned a range of skills, including sound engineering, at WAYout which offers training in media, music and the arts to disadvantaged young people in Sierra Leone. WAYout has also been a haven for Francess (Francess Kamara), who has participated in photography, editing and poetry workshops there. A triplet, Francess was turned out of her uncle’s home at the age of eight on account of superstition, when her two other sisters died.
Always on the edge of survival, Sulcut, Meeky and Francess' sources of income have dried up with the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet despite their own severely reduced circumstances, all three continue to volunteer to spread healing and joy through poetry, dance, music - and now yoga - to patients in a psychiatric ward, at a women’s prison, in schools, among orphans and other children in need.
We would hope to provide a stipend of £50 per month to Sulcut, Meeky and Francess throughout the 18 months of training. Our overall goal for the crowdfunding campaign is £2.700.
If you are feeling particularly generous and we manage to collect more money than needed for these three scholarships, we will distribute the additional funds to others taking part in the training who have financial needs. Thank you for helping us sow the seeds of yoga far and wide, to build a better world.
The Sierra Leone - Yoga to Build a Better World initiative is led by Fundación YOGA PURA VIDA, in partnership with Tools for Inner Peace.
I Was Born in Poverty
by Sulaiman Bangura a.k.a. Sulcut
I remember when we used to sleep without food
No expectation of tomorrow
We only wished to see another day
We were poor and unsafe
Living on bush animals and plants
And curing our diseases with bush medicines
We lived and walked through the bush
Looking fearfully at the hills and trees
Walking miles every day just in search of the basics of life
We were like roses under a black rock
Locked in darkness
I remember the old building made of branches
With a roof of golden grasses
Some days we had to endure
The frenzied weather of the mountains
Mist floated through the building
And we felt the cold within our bones
Brothers and sisters lay in rows on the cold ground
Sharing an old faded blanket
We were living a mysterious rustic life without luxuries
The black soap we used was made by our grandma
We used sticks to clean our teeth
To be poor is not a crime, but poverty is an ugly relative
I Must Lose with You
by Meeky Star (Michael Samuel Kamara)
The Woman in Me
by Francess Kamara
In me there is a great woman
This woman makes a difference
Can make changes in my life
Day and night she gets stronger
This great woman in me
Makes me fight for what I want
believes in hustling hard
Makes me do astonishing things
To everyone even me
Sometimes I wonder in slumber
What kind of woman I am
This woman can never change,
Can make perfect things occur
This woman can never give up
can never be lost or done with
The growth of her power in me
Makes me fight to victory
Ready to face the whole world
Show the power of the woman in me