2017 President’s Message

Abdul Kassim President

Distinguished patrons, guests and members of UBSSL, Good Evening! The membership of UBSSL is pleased to see you all and we want to thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate our beloved Sierra Leone’s 56th independence anniversary.

Last year I asked you what has Sierra Leone achieved since 1961? Tonight, I have two more questions. First, what role has Sierra Leone played in developing us into who we are today? I’m certain most of us will agree that our foundation is rooted in Sierra Leone. Without which, we would not have amongst us highly educated individuals, successful entrepreneurs and professionals in almost every facet of life including the space industry. Now to my second question: while living here in the US, what contributions have we made towards the development of Sierra Leone? My personal opinion is “not much”. The good news is that we can help change the current status in Sierra Leone starting now. I believe one major way of doing so is by investing in the country’s youth. My late dad always reminded us as kids that the only riches he had to offer us was our education. “Nobody will fight you for it, because it belongs to you alone” he would say. Education significantly enhances our chances of becoming successful and productive citizens. This is primarily why UBSSL is currently focused on providing scholarships in Sierra Leone.

Thanks to your generous support, we generated a profit of about $12,500 from last year’s event. Every penny was spent on the scholarship program, and that allowed us to award 46 scholarships in Sierra Leone and 2 here in Southern California. Each university, high school and elementary student received $400, $150 and $75 respectively. Our future plans include providing adequate computer technology to students; solar energy for schools and universities; and investing in Sierra Leone’s obsolete water infrastructure. We believe these lofty goals are realistic and achievable especially with your continued support.

Now, I would like to recognize with immense gratitude the following event sponsors: Mr. Paxton Gagnet (Manager of Crown Toyota) – $3,000 donation, Isatu Timbo-Nwokedi – $500 donation, Mr. and Mahmood Timbo – $500 donation (and providers of all the gift items some lucky winners will be taking home later tonight), and Mr. & Ken Stewart – $500 donation. Please join me in giving them a round of applause. Thanks to all of you and may God richly bless you.

UBSSL is eager to bring its future plans to fruition but we cannot do so without your continued support. I implore everyone present here tonight to consider at a minimum doubling their contributions to UBSSL. Let me take this opportunity to extend a challenge to all of you to join our “Sierra Leone Education Initiative”. The initiative is simple: sponsor 2 university students ($800) and a high school student ($300) and have the scholarship be awarded on your behalf. For example, the “UBSSL Santigie Kamara scholarship” or the “UBSSL Grammar School Alumni Association scholarship” for alumni associations seeking to sponsor students at their alma mater.

In closing, I would like to remind you that Sierra Leone needs your unconditional love and support. If adults are saying “tin tranga”, imagine what the youth and children must be going through. Once again thank you all for your support and my deepest thanks to all members of UBSSL.

God bless Sierra Leone, God bless the United States of America and God bless you all. Please enjoy your evening.

Abdul Kassim,

President

United Brothers and Sisters of Sierra Leone

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