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From Child Soldier to Community Hero: A Local Legend Champions Clean Water Access

Worldly Wednesday
Prince Pumping the New Well

After losing his parents at just 13, Prince joined the Sierra Leone army as a child soldier. Today, he supports his siblings and works with Legend to provide clean drinking water access to local communities.

Sierra Leone Civil War: 1991 - 2002

In 1991, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone attempted a military coup on the presiding Joseph Momo government. The civil war that consequently erupted lasted 11 years and left over 50,000 Sierra Leoneans dead. Mass swathes of territory were occupied by the RUF, often with extreme violence. 

Prince experienced the atrocities of this war from a young age: At just 13, the RUF invaded his local village. Prince's Father was beheaded in front of him; the rest of the family escaped into the bush where they sheltered alone for three months. Whilst hiding with her children and displaced from her home, Prince's Mother passed away from severe dehydration. 

Fraught with grief and anger, Prince joined the Sierra Leone Army (SLA). As a young recruit, he guarded road stops from incoming rebel soldiers - and was armed with an assault rifle. 

In January 2002, the British Government successfully intervened and suppressed the insurgent RUF. The 11 year-long war was formally declared over, but the hardship was not. Vast numbers of Sierra Leone children had been conscripted on both sides and over 2.6 million people were left displaced. "After the war ended, I was just sitting. Just sitting, not doing anything", Prince described. Still displaced, and with two younger (now orphaned) siblings to be responsible for, Prince recalls how he and many of his child soldier peers were left lost, traumatized, and unprepared for post-war life. 

Healing and New Beginnings

Prince joined the local church and found immense healing in his new baptized name, Prince. "I wanted to leave everything about the war behind, [so I got a new name]," he explained.

Armed with fresh identity and purpose, Prince heard of an organization nearby working to provide freshwater wells. "Because my Mother died of dehydration, I'm always [passionate about] finding clean water". Prince immediately joined the Legend team working locally and has been a critical partner ever since.

Today, Prince is deeply engaged with community work and is an integral part of the Legend Water Well team. His work actively brings fresh drinking water to remote communities. Prince also supports his younger siblings, for whom he is paying school fees, and his extended family. Prince regularly walks through local areas and finds young men who are 'sitting down' as he once was, encouraging them to join the Legend team and find meaning and purpose through work as he has.

 

Prince and Legend Founder Kevin

 

“Now, I feel joyous for myself. Now, I’m engaged - and I’m doing something to help my family... I’m proud of it”, Prince says. 

 

 

The work that Legend does in remote communities would not be possible without dedicated local partners like Prince. We are forever grateful for the meaningful, impactful work that our incredible global team does.  

The Water Well Legend Bracelet

Each Water Well Legend Bracelet helps fund the building of water wells in Africa to bring underserved rural villages like Prince's access to clean water.  

Water Well Bracelet 

 

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