Ebrima Marong comes from the very small village of Mandori. He is the only one in his family going to school. Two older brothers are at home farming. Three older sisters are married. None of these received formal education.
Ebrima joined SSF in 2011 when he was in seventh grade at the Salikenni school. He impressed Mary Ann Roberts, who visited Salikenni on behalf of SSF that year. She recalls him during a game of flash cards “eagerly leaning forward, arms waving to be called on to answer each question, smiling broadly.” She was struck by his “kind behavior, good manners, polite competitive spirit and excellent reading skills.”
In the spring of 2014, finishing ninth grade, Ebrima got one of the best scores ever achieved by an SSF student on the nationwide exam that determines eligibility for high school. He wrote to thank us, saying that without SSF, “most of the students including me would have been dropouts.” His hero was Nelson Mandela. Hearing of Mandela’s death, he wrote us that the loss was, for him, “so emotional.”
This year, Ebrima is in tenth grade in the science program at Nusrat Senior Secondary School in the suburbs of the capital city, Banjul. He is living in the SSF compound. After high school he wants to study engineering. He wrote: “I would like to assure you that I will double up my efforts in order to meet the expectation.”