I first came to Sierra Leone in 2008 because I was interested in researching youth activism after the war - a war that was sparked by a mass wave of alienated young people who had no stake in the system governing them. Now I work on promoting gender equality through UNICEF.
This country continues to make significant strides in its economic development, but it is still a place of bleak future prospects for most young men and women. Systemic corruption is so rife, that examples of real integrity are all the more valueable to find. One of the places I found here that breeds integrity, confidence and self-worth among young people is the boxing ring. I've seen men and women continually push their bodies beyond the limit, overcome their fears and control their aggression through the power of their minds. I have seen them earn real respect - the kind that money can't buy. These are the role models that need to be supported, so that against all odds, they can fulfill their potential and bring hope and inspiration to others.
Let's get them to the trials, and help them get their rightful shot at Olympic glory.
Thanks for Fid Thompson, Stephen Douglas, Joanna Cornish and Caroline Thomas for photography and communications advice.
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