An Interview with Saffa Bockarie (graduate of UWC South East Asia)
What was a life changing moment for you in UWC?
The life changing moment for me at UWCSEA was transitioning from a local Sierra Leonean to a global citizen. I got exposed to an experiential education system that enhanced my level as a learner both inside and outside the classroom. I gained skills necessary for experiencing intercultural communication with an open mind in exploring the complex world of sharing my own culture and simultaneously learning to appreciate others.
How did the National Committee help you navigate your way through UWC and life after UWC?
I have been in contact with my National Committee (NC) from the day I received my UWC offer to my time in college, and they have many times been a very useful resource. One particular scenario I can remember was when I wanted to organize an Ebola Fundraising and awareness Day in April, 2015. The Sierra Leone UWC NC helped with suggestions of accredited organizations that I could contact and had to choose one from. Considering that period in the country and my passion for helping the less privileged, the event was a success with over S$ 2,500 (SGD) raised, and students sending words of solidarity to children who were directly or indirectly affected by the disease. Thanks to the UWCSEA-Dover community for such generosity.
Another instance was writing my International Baccalaureate Math Internal Assessment in modeling the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease in the country. I individually struggled to collect the data that I wanted. After reaching the NC, they helped connect me to a resource where I was abled to get enough secondary data that I analyzed and deduced a logistic curve equation for its spread. There were other cases where contacting the NC made life easier for me like settling into the UWC environment, applying to or choosing universities to attend, and many more. I hope current or future students can make use of this opportunity when going through their UWC experience.
What opportunities have presented them to since joining the UWC family?
Since joining the UWC family, my life became a born again. I was born to a world of infinite possibilities, where I learned the culture of making connections and giving back to society. Attending and participating in cultural events from many countries made the world that is so big look so small in my eyes. In addition I took parts in conferences, involved in field trips to Tioman Island in Malaysia, project week to Pune in India, voluntary summer internship to Phnom Penh in Cambodia and many other opportunities that could help me find myself and be of service to others.
What impact have you made in Sierra Leone since becoming a UWC alum?
I am generally not a fan of sharing the works I do that will make a difference in the lives of others, but I have low-key been involved in development projects in multiple communities in Sierra Leone. The major impact(s) I would love to share are bringing the Davis Project for Peace in Sierra Leone for two consecutive years (2018 & 2019). In the summer of 2018, I partnered with The Jeneba Project, an initiative of UWC alum, implementing a project titled Water Well for Peace and Sustainable Development. The project constructed a water well with a piping system, installed a submersible pump that supplies water to a reservoir or a storage system and is providing potable water to a school community (called The Sengeh Pieh Academy) and the 1000 people residence of Robis, northern province. The water storage and supply system functions excellently both in the Rainy and Dry Season, helping to increase on school attendance and general wellbeing of the community members.
The summer 2019 Davis Project for Peace, titled Water Management for Peace through Food Security was in partnership with an agribusiness called Whole Farms. The project improved on already existing wells that will supply water to a reservoir and water storage facility for the introduction of an irrigation system, one-stop fruit and vegetable washing