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6 Pack

6 Pack

I ran away from home when I was 11 years old, due to the violent abuse of my father. The

way he would beat me is not the way anybody should ever treat a child. At times he would

strip me naked, throw water on me tie me with a cable and the beat me with a cane. One day

he beat me so severely that I thought I was going to die. I still have the marks on my waste. I

even contemplated on killing him in his sleep but instead decided to leave the house. I came

to town and went to the market. I had a black plastic bag and would collect the small red chilli

peppers that had fallen to the ground. When my plastic bag was full I washed them nicely. I

found a tray to spread them and started selling them. With this money I went to the cinema

all day long. I then would sweep in the market. I went from stall to stall and people would

pay me 20 -40 cents each. When I was finished and had some money I would escape to the

cinema again and watch movies until night. Then I would spread my cardboard and sleep

somewhere near the market. At night someone could come and steal your trousers or slippers

while you were sleeping or rub inflammable dirt under your feet and light them. Whenever

this happened I could not walk or work for a week and had nothing to eat during that time.

Furthermore we were constantly hiding from the police who would arrest us whenever they

caught us. Either we had to pay them money or they would send us to jail for ‘loitering’.

Together with some other street boys we ended up in the gutter beneath Peterson Street. We

cleaned the entire gutter and started living there. This is how we founded Lion Base. We had

our own gang. People feared us! We fought, we gambled, we carried weapons, we smoked,

we got drunk, we stabbed, got stabbed, we stole, we got arrested, went to prison, some died.

Street life doesn’t pay. You will die young. We suffered a lot in the streets. When you are in

the streets the streets are in you! You are fighting for survival – you are not living! All my

life I had never seen a bank from the inside. Since we started to make the sneakers with K1X

I have my own bank account. I can take care of myself. I can sleep peacefully at night. I can

take a shower with clean water. I can eat every day. I have started taking classes and am now

able to read and write. I thank God for that. In September I want to start to go to school and

become a nurse in the future. I want to have my own family and be able to take good care of

them. I still have a long way to go but I will make it!

Base

Base

My mum left me and my dad when I was five. So my father left me in the care of my

grandfather. When I was 7 my grandfather died, so they sent me to stay with my aunt. That

was the first time I went to school. I stayed with her for four years. On the weekends I worked

with my aunt in the swamp farming rice cassava. Whenever I refused to work in the farm she

used to beat me. So I came to the streets at the age of 11. After some years I looked for my

mother and asked her to send me to school. But she said she was scared of me since I lived

in the streets for a very long time and was afraid if she would send me to school I would be

rebellious and fight the teachers. She said before she would pay for me to go to school she

would rather give the money to a beggar. I will never forget her words, to hear something like

that from your own mother is very hurtful. I am very proud to wear my school uniform now,

because no one in my family believed in me. I am trying my level best to get good results in

my exams. In November 2011 I acted the lead role in the short movie Patrice came to shoot

with us in Freetown.

Base is presently living in the streets again.

Enzo

Enzo

I came into the streets at the age of 10. After I lost my father my mother did not have enough

money to take care of me and my younger siblings. Therefore I had to leave home and come

to the streets to fight for myself. I tried my level best to earn money to attend school but I

could not succeed. I am now 22 years old and presently attending form 3. After I finish school

I want to attend University in America. My ambition is to become an engineer.

Chedder

Chedder

I am 23 years old and was born in Kambia district, Mambolo Chiefdom, in a small village in

the northern province of Sierra Leone. My parents divorced when I was five years old and I

started to live with my grandmother in another village. My grandmother was a hardworking

woman and was able to pay for my education, health, clothing and feeding. She was my sole

provider and I loved her so much. But unfortunately when I was 10 years old she died. That’s

when I came to understand the reality of life. I started roaming the streets like a young mad

boy, crying and feeling lonely. Sometimes people felt sorry for me and gave me food to eat.

After 2 weeks I decided to go to the seaside hoping to find someone that knew my family

background or the village I was from. I found a man who indeed knew my village and even

my parents. He promised me to take me with him on the boat the next day. I was so happy in

that moment, because I had not seen my parents for several years. We left with the boat the

next morning and travelled for the rest of the day until we arrived in my village. The man

took me to my family. But my mother or father were did not appear. I cried and felt I did not

have any parents. One of my aunts informed my father that she would take care of me and I

began to live with her. She treated me like a slave: I was sweeping the compound, fetching

water and doing other chores in the house. After some weeks my aunty started to send me to

the streets to sell oranges, water and plastic bags. Whenever I lost a single cent she would

nearly kill me. Every night I was contemplating on how to get out of this situation and how to

become somebody in the future. Eventually I decided to run away. I had made arrangements

with my friend’s father who was a boat captain. In exchange for loading and off loading the

boat he agreed to take me to Freetown. We travelled for two days before we reached.

Everything was strange to me, since I had never been to the city before. In Freetown I met an

older boy who showed me where to find cardboard to sleep on and where other young boys

would lay down at night. I was doing hard labour to survive, such as pushing wheelbarrows,

carrying bags or sweeping in the market. One day while carrying someone’s bag I

accidentally stepped on a man’s foot and he hit me in my face. I started crying and told

myself that I will never do this kind of hard labour again. From there I started selling second

hand clothes. I used to buy one or two items in the east end for 1000 LE (20 cents) and walk

10 miles to the other end of town to sell them for double the price. Sometimes I walked the

entire day without selling anything and was forced to go to sleep hungry. One day I ran into

an uncle in the streets who asked me what I was doing. I explained my misery to him and he

agreed to take me in and to send me to school. He was staying near Lion Base. After two

years my uncle died and I was on my own again, back in the streets. This is how I ended up

living in Lion Base. The suffering continued; at times policemen would wake me up at night

and beat me mercilessly. I carried on to do business and eventually built a small kiosk with a

friend where we sold water, phone cards and toothpaste. At night we would sleep inside our

kiosk. My kiosk is right above the gutter in Lion Base. This is where I met Mallence and from

there my life started: We started working on the Batik for the k1x sneakers and from the

money we earned from this project we managed to pay for school. I feel so relieved to be able

to continue my education. Recently someone broke into my kiosk and stole everything inside.

Therefore I now want to concentrate on my education in order to become a businessman or a

lawyer.

Chedder is will be graduating from high school next year and there after proceed to college.

Honorable

Honorable

My mother died when I was 3 month old, so my father took me to his mother. My

grandmother took care of me till I was five years old, then she passed away. Then my father

took me to my step mother I ran away after my step mum tried to poison me when I was 5

years old. I came to live in the gutter in Lion Base. I would sweep peoples houses, collect

their rubbish, clean the gutter and other things to survive. Stealing was never an option for

me; however sleeping in the gutter in Lion Base I was arrested several times by the police at

night cause Lion Base is considered a ‘grey area’. At the station they would beat us severely,

once I tried to escape an officer stabbed me in my heart. I now have a big scar on my chest.

When I came out of the hospital I came back to Lion Base and was innocently accused again

to have stolen a computer. I was in custody for over a month, beaten and the rest of it. I as

charged to court, this was the very day Mallence came to take us. You face problems all the

time when you live in the street. At night while you sleep they steal the clothes and shoes you

wear. Since I left the streets, my life has changed drastically. Now I can sleep peacefully at

night. Nobody can steal my clothes and officers can’t arrest us at night. I never expected to go

to school. The only thing I knew was manual labour. After we finished the Batik Sneakers we

hired a teacher to learn reading and writing. I am now attending Rokel Commercial School. I

have never been to school before. This is a big opportunity for me.

Heaven Gate

Heaven Gate

I used to live with my father in Freetown, but when he married another woman things turned

very bad. She convinced my father to take me out of school and forced me to do all the work

in the house for her and her other children instead and sell food for the rest of the day. So I

ran away from home at the age of 3 and lived in the streets for some time. The war had just

finished then and me and other street boys would go to the refugee camp to eat. At the age

of 4 I went to stay with my mother in Lungi for 2 weeks, but she was very poor. So I came

back to the streets to Freetown. I worked very hard: wash peoples clothes or clean for people.

At the age of 5 I started working in the mountains collecting firewood. I managed to save

350,000 Leones (€65,-) during the period of 1 year. I returned to my father’s house with this

money because my step mum had left him and I heard he was very sick. I used the money

I had saved to take care of him for some time, but the money was soon finished after. My

younger brother and I tried to raise money to take him to the hospital but we did not succeed

to raise enough money so my father died. From there I went to stay with my who paid my

school fees for the next 4 years. Unfortunately he had to travel at some point so I went to my

mother but she was not in good condition at the time recovering from an operation I went

back to the streets. That is when I met Sahr a.k.a The Maker who took me to Lion Base where

I lived until last year. Initially any little money I eared I would send to my mother but in the

end it became too difficult for me to do that. The police would regularly come at night and

beat us and take all the money from us that we worked for so hard. Sometimes they would

arrest us at night and then demand money to let us go and not send us to prison. So in the end

stopped to support my mother. Now I am approximately 16 years old.

Heaven Gate started school for the first time in 2012. He can read and write now and is

gradually making progress. Besides that he is a very talented fashion designer and is in

charge of design and quality control at FOLORUNSHO.

Game

Game

I was 6 years when I cam into the streets of Freetown. I believe I am 14 years old now. My

father passed away when I was very young, so my mother remarried another man, who did

not treat me very well. He took me to the village and wanted to leave me there with relatives.

I was supposed to work in the fields and plant rice there. I ran away from the village and came

to Freetown. I started to earn my own money to eat. In 2004 I came to Lion Base. I met Ta-
To G, The Maker, 6 Pack and others. I soon got introduced to the craft of stealing. This was

the way I earned money when living in the streets. Now I am having a wonderful and big

opportunity. I love my work. I made the Batik for the sneakers in my favourite colour blue;

and I embroidered the jeans shirts. I admire the finished result. They are perfect. I love all of

our customers who support us. We appreciate and thank you. Presently I am attending form 1

at Grace School of Science in Freetown. I want to become an international businessman. My

dream is to go to Bollywood in India after I finish my school to marry Sony’s sister. I saw her

in a movie. She is beautiful and can dance and sing.

Game is has proceeded to form 3 and is making great progress at school.

Long Life

Long Life

I was born in Madina, Kambia district in Sierra Leone. During the war when the rebels came

at 2 o’clock in the night to our village everybody ran. My parents both got killed. I survived.

I fled to Guinea our neighbouring country. I walked there by foot. I came back when the war

was over. I have been living I the streets ever since. I never went to school and I don’t know

my exact age. I believe I am 16 years old. I have started to read and write now. It is very

difficult for me but I am trying. I used to carry rubbish for people to survive. I used to fight a

lot when living in the streets, but I survived –always, that is how I got my name. My body is

full of scars. I wish I could remove them. I am trying to change my life.

Long Life died in April, 2013 at the age of 17. He blessed us with his presence while he was

alive and will continue to do so.

Long Life R.I.P ca. 1995 – April 29, 2013 >> Death is only the beginning and so is life<<

Maker

Maker

My mother died when I was very little. So my dad took me to my grandmother and my

grandmother brought me to my aunty. But the way my aunt maltreated me made me run away

in 2001. I ended up in Lion Base. I was 10 at the time. I was living the gangster life, doing

all kind of bad things in order to survive: Steal peoples phones, handbags, etc. which I really

regret now. I became so miserable and fed up with my life that I was contemplating on ending

it. Working on the Batik for the FOLORUNSHO sneakers in was like a blessing from heaven

and my life has changed completely since then. Now I pursue an education. I want to become

an international businessman.

Momo

Momo

I lost my parents during the civil war and was then in the care of my grandmother, who was

unable to provide for me. Thus she took me to the province to give me to a man that was

supposed to educate me. However he used to beat me and forced me to do all the hard labour

in the house: cook for him, find fire wood, fetch water, clean and so forth. At one point I

could not take it any longer so I ran away. I was around 6 years old at the time. I have been

living in the streets since 2001. I was doing any kind of odd jobs to survive, later on when I

came to Lion Base I got involved in crime. We would rob people at night or whenever there

where sports events at the stadium we would go there to steal. Luckily now I am learning how

to read and write and hope to attend school for the first time in September. I was the camera

assistant for the movie we recently shot with Patrice, Barron and Shawn here in Freetown. My

dream is to become a cameraman.

Momo is presently working in a multi media agency as a camera & production assistant.

Patrick

Patrick

I was born in the northern province of Sierra Leone, Makeni. I lost both my mother and

father during the civil war and was raised by my grandmother in the village. When I was six

years old my grandmother sent me to school. I walked 2 miles to and back from school every

day. I finished my primary education at the age of 12 and came first in the National Primary

Education examination in the entire chiefdom. Unfortunately my grandmother could not

afford to continue paying for my education. I came to Freetown with a big truck with the hope

to earn money to further my education. I did not know what to expect and was overwhelmed

by the magnitude and traffic of the city. I met some other street boys who explained to me that

there are 2 ways to survive: the hard way and the soft way: The hard way is to carry load for

people, collect rubbish and sweep and the soft way is to steal. I chose the hard way, because

my father was a very reputable and educated man and I did not want to disgrace my family.

Once I had saved enough money I went to St. Edwards School and met the principal there. I

explained my situation to him and he supported me. He gave me a school uniform and bought

some books for me. So whilst living in the streets I was able to attend the school. Sadly after 2

years the school’s principal retired. Thereafter I was straining to handle street life and school

simultaneously. At times my companions that lived in the streets like Ta-To G and others

would help me to pay my school fees. But eventually I was unable to proceed with school

because I couldn’t pay the fees. Instead I would read the books that I could get my hands on

to educate myself. I had not been around when Mallence came to Lion Base and the other

boys started working on the Batik project. But I kept hearing about it, so Long Life took me to

the house and introduced me to Mallence. I moved into the house with the other boys and am

now pursuing my education. I never dreamed of having my own bank account and to live this

kind of way, but thank God I am fortunate and my life has changed now. I will be graduating

from school this year and plan to study law at University. It has always been my dream to

become a lawyer. When living in the streets I would sneak into the law court and listen to the

trials, whenever I had a decent pair of trousers and a shirt. There is so much injustice going

on towards the street children: the brutality and the advantage by the police, jailing minors are

common in Sierra Leone. I want to be in a position to create opportunities for street children

and empower them. I know I still have a long way to go, but as long as I have the resources I

will reach the peak. We want to show the world that from the streets we can rise to the top.

Patrick is presently attending college preparing to commence his law degree.

Tato G

Tato G

I lived with my father and mother in the village. My father used to carry me on his back when

he went to the farm to work. My uncle took me to Waterloo when I was around 4 years old.

He claimed he would send me to school. So my father agreed, because there is no school in

the village. However my uncle just sent me to sell women pants and other things in the streets

every day, while sending his own children to school.

One day a soldier man pretended he wants to buy some of my goods. He said he wants to

go to try the clothes and asked me to wait there for him. He went with the clothes and never

came back. When I returned to the house my uncle did not believe me that the things got

stolen. So he locked me in a room tied me and started to flog me mercilessly. I ran away and

came to the streets. I had a basket and a broom and would sweep for people. This is how I

survived.

Later my uncle’s wife found me in the market and convinced me to come back to the house,

promising to send me to school. So I followed her. But instead of sending me to school they

bought a wheelbarrow and sent me out every day to push load for people to earn money.

Every day I had to come home with minimum 7000 Leones otherwise my uncle would beat

me. I was only given the leftovers to eat. Every day I would bring the money to the house.

One day when I parked the wheelbarrow in a corner to buy food somebody stole it. My uncle

burned all my clothes and sent me out to the streets naked to find the wheelbarrow. I started

to cry because I had no idea who stole the wheelbarrow from me. So I did not go back to the

house. I returned to my mother in the village. She was very poor. We would exchange wood

and vegetables from the farm for other things and fish. We would pick mangoes from the tree

and catch fish in the swamp. That is how we lived. At that time there was war in Sierra Leone

and we soon had to leave the village for safety

My mother and father went to Waterloo and sent me to Freetown to stay with another uncle

hoping that he would send me to school. This uncle also failed to send me to school and just

used me to sell for him in the streets. One night the rebels came to my uncle’s compound. We

were singing: “We want peace-We want peace”. One rebel who had 1 eye called me aside. He

told me to hold his gun and threatened to kill me. I was around 5 years old. I was so small I

could not even carry the gun. It would drag on the ground when we were walking. They took

me to the bush and I lived there with them for some time-maybe 1 or 2 years. They would

cut holes under my eyes and place drugs inside to make us young boys fearless. Then they

would send us to fight and open fire. I still have the scars under my right and left eye. One

day the rebel commander sent me and some other boys with guns to a village near Masheka to

loot and bring food. When we reached the village I started to run into the bush until I reached

another village. In that village I met some ECOMOG soldiers who gave me food and took me

to Waterloo. I did not find my mother or father so I went to Freetown. That is how I ended

up in lion base Later on I started to steal. Then this became my means of survival. This is

how I ended up in prison for stealing a handbag from a woman. I was sentenced for 2 years. I

started to cry. The people in the court asked me where are your parents. I told them that I have

nobody; only God is my mother and father. A human rights lawyer intervened and reduces my

time to 17 months, because I was so young at the time. I served my time and came out. Two

month later I was arrested again for stealing a mobile phone. I went back to prison 4 more

times all together. In total I spent three and a half years of my life in prison. This opportunity

design and create things came to my rescue. If it was not for this program I would probably

be dead now. I love my job and I love my life now. I love to draw. I pray to god every night

before I sleep to guide and protect us and so that we can continue this work. I am taking

lessons at home twice a day. I can now read and write. I want to attend school in September. I

have dreamed about this since I was very small. I didn’t believe that this day would come.