Ibrahim began his life as one of Africa’s lost children, like so many others. He was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and cannot remember life with his birth parents. They were murdered in the country’s violent civil war when he was four years old, a time of horror in his young life, blocked from memory.
A couple from Minnesota heard of the plight of orphans in Sierra Leone and adopted Ibrahim when he was 13. More than that, his adoptive parents recognized a young man with exceptional intelligence and helped launch him on an educational journey that included the International Academy of Minnesota.
When it was time for college, Ibs (as he likes to be called) was well-prepared. He had achieved exceptional grades.
Yet, even though he had many choices for higher education, he says that most of the interviews he experienced were disappointing. University recruiters talked only about their schools rather than how the schools could help, guide, and mentor him, he explains. All that changed, he says, when he visited Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
“At the interview, it was all about how they were going to help me … that was the main topic,” says Ibs. “I made up my mind right on the spot … based on how Saint Mary’s said they can help me and what they can do for me.”
Today, Ibs has a four-year First Generation Initiative scholarship at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. And, he has a life-plan taking shape for after graduation.
Yet, his greatest hope is to have the financial means to return to Sierra Leone one day to perhaps open an orphanage and school and share what he has learned. It is his dream to help children there who have been less fortunate than him.
For starters, Ibs is working with his counselor at Saint Mary’s to plan a study abroad semester at the orphanage in Sierra Leone where he spent several years as a child.
“I have been through a lot in my life but there are others who have had it much worse.”
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