profile: Kelfa Kargbo, Sierra Leone Country Director

Kelfa's story

Born in a small town called Kamakwie in Northern Sierra Leone, I come from a long line of pastors, and so I grew up moving from one village to another following my dad's churches. In total I most have attended 3 different elementary schools and 4 high schools. This was how my love to serve and work with vulnerable communities began.

As a way of enhancing my desire to work with vulnerable communities, I studied first for a Master’s Degree in Development Studies, and then later another Master’s degree in Business Administration.

After graduating in 1999 I took up employment with child protection agencies: a job I have been doing ever since. I have never found anything worth the struggles in life than to bring a smile on the faces of vulnerable children. This is my mission in life and to this I commit myself.   

Two days into my honeymoon in June 2000, I got the call that would change my life. Hundreds of children were trapped behind enemy lines during the senseless, decade-long rebel war in my country, Sierra Leone. The charity I was working for wanted someone to go urgently to rescue these children, and bring them to the safety of the capital, Freetown. No one was ready to take the risk because if you ran out of luck, you would either be shot on sight, or have a limb amputated if caught.

I felt compelled within me to go and rescue these children, so I talked with my new wife. She did not want me to go. Then I talked with my parents. My mother also did not want me to go. But my dad, being a pastor, said quietly, 'If this is the price we as a family have to pay to bring these children to safety, so be it. But rest assured that our God is alive'. So I went.

Since then I have not looked back, always making the right sacrifices to bring smiles to the faces of vulnerable children. I still, and will always will, love my job as a child protection officer.

I considered my decision to join Street Child in 2008 as one of the best decisions I have ever made in my career. It's a charity that employs very simple approaches to address huge challenges. Street Child's belief is that the solutions to most issues you face are found in your own backyard, and so the best thing you can do is to support communities to identify and address challenges themselves. The difference in Street Child’s work is measured by the lives we change, rather than the over-complexity of approaches to simple problems. The children are at the center of our work.

Yours truly

Kelfa Kargbo