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Her Story Salone Series: Survival

By Eunice Naffie Mustapha

Sometimes, we live, and sometimes, all we do is survive. Life could be a bed of roses for some and a field of thorns for others. Coming from a poor background with another mouth to feed, at age 17, Ramatu had to survive as a teenage mother.

Mothers mostly add light to the lives of their kids; however, for Ramatu, that light was forcefully switched off by death when she was a little girl, leaving her with a younger sister and a jobless father. She knew she was alone, as she needed necessities to survive. The minute puberty said hello, Ramatu’s source of survival became an older man (her boyfriend), which is not uncommon in Sierra Leone. Their courtship resulted in an unplanned pregnancy, as she was having unprotected sex with no family planning practices.

At first, everything seemed rosy, as the man had been around for 10 months. To her dismay, he vanished, leaving her responsible for catering for the baby. The so-called helper, who was supposed to improve her life, added to her woes. The Salone story!

She struggled and found it difficult to cater for her baby. She never once thought her knight in armor would disappear in thin air like a magician.

All alone and with a baby to care for, Ramatu had to fend for herself and her baby. The only skill that she had was ‘hairdressing.’ She did not sit on the skill; she became the local hairdresser in her community in Makeni. By braiding hair, she could gather funds to make ends meet narrowly. From 2019 till date, that has been her survival strategy.

That is not the end for her, as she wants to perfect the skill. During her interview, she informed us that she plans to enroll in a training institute to improve her skills. She believes in quality and aims to establish a renowned career using her skills.

“The government should ensure that sexual reproductive health and rights education or information is prioritized. Members of communities should take it upon themselves to duly advise kids, even if they are not theirs. I would have loved to be motivated to focus on school. Projects implemented by organizations should also be more inclusive, as we have situations where only those with connections could benefit as a result of the selfish nature of some local liaisons.”- Ramatu

“I want to build my skills, as I want to be self-reliant. I would need all the help to get items that would help boost my hairdressing skills. I want to be an Ambassador to work with the government and non-governmental organizations to talk to girls about the dangers of teenage pregnancy.”- Ramatu

Eunice Naffie Mustapha is a creative writer and a storyteller. She is a published author ( the author of Girlz Planete: Teenage Pregnancy). As the CEO of Nafisa Media Limited, she believes in using stories to inspire social change. She is a Sierra Leonean content writer renowned for submitting content to individuals and entities locally and internationally.

Pikin Bizness is a Non-Governmental Organization set up in 2001 to help vulnerable children with health problems. Three philanthropists founded the organization: Dr Adonis Abdoud ( Chief Executive Officer), Babara Bangura, and Shelac Sunny Davies. The organization has sponsored many children with holes in their hearts to undergo successful surgeries in different hospitals abroad.

Girls + Sierra Leone is a non-profit organization driven by community-level interventions aimed at providing reproductive health education and services to adolescents and young people in Sierra Leone. It was founded by Asmaa James with support from Plan International Sierra Leone.

Photo Credit: Moseray Koroma ( Super Mos Photography): +23278145373/ +23288914840

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