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Biography of Kimmie WEEKS

Liberia > Social : Kimmie WEEKS

Kimmie WEEKS Kimmie WEEKS
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Born on 06/12/1981 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Kimmie Weeks (b. December 6, 1981), in the West African Nation of Liberia, Kimmie Weeks spent most of his early childhood faced with war, poverty, and suffering. A civil war had started in Liberia in 1989 when Kimmie was barely 9 years old. The war brought him face to face with death and the suffering of children. After experiencing the horrors of war as a child, Kimmie has dedicated his life to fight for the rights of chilfren

 “Young people here have to realize their blessings and appreciate them and they have to extend a helping hand to children out there…. I saw children spend long days on the streets of the capital under the blazing African sun trying to sell goods for their families to survive, while thousands of others carried guns, fighting and killing one another.”

When civil war broke out in the African nation of Liberia in 1989, nine-year-old Kimmie Weeks was just another child caught in the middle. Each day, he saw the death and suffering of children like himself. After a near-death experience at the age of 10— he became so weak and ill that men in the refugee camp began digging a shallow grave for him—In 1991, Kimmie came close to being buried in a shallow grave. He was all of 10 years old. He had been sick for days, dehydrated, not eating nor drinking because cholera had wracked his emaciated body. The cholera hit after the chickenpox and before the yellow jaundice. He saw no doctor, no nurse. He had no medicine, only a few herbs. This was war, after all.

When Kimmie’s caretakers could no longer find a pulse in his chest, an older man decided he must be dead. The man then told someone to wrap Kimmie up while a few other young men began digging a grave—out by the garbage pile where all the refugees’ bodies went.

His mother could not bear it. She refused to accept it. She screamed and hit at his body and kept hitting at him until Kimmie came back to consciousness. That same night, he vowed to dedicate the rest of his childhood and adult life to making the world a better place for children.Kimmie decided to work the rest of his life to ensure that no child would ever have to live with extreme malnutrition, disease or poverty.
At the age of 13, Kimmie started Liberia's first child rights advocacy and humanitarian organization run by young people: Voice of the Future, Inc. Two years later, he founded the Children's Disarmament Campaign, which worked with UNICEF to end the Liberian civil war and disarm the country's 15,000 child soldiers. When Liberia experienced a general disarmament the next year, Kimmie founded The Children's Bureau of Information, Liberia's first children's information service, which worked to reintegrate former child soldiers into the community.
These experiences would have broken the souls of most people. However, they encouraged  Kimmie to follow a path where he could make a difference and ensure a world where all children had access to food, medicine and shelter. It is a vision that he has pursued ever since. Over the years, Kimmie has formed partnerships and led organizations that have provided education to over a million students in West Africa, lobbied the disarmament of over 15,000 child soldiers and provided health care and recreation supplies to children.

Kimmie has faced many obstacles in pursuit of his dream. The biggest obstruction that he faced was when the Liberian government attempted to assassinate him for a report he had issued on its involvement in the training of child soldiers. As a result, Weeks was forced to flee Liberia when he was seventeen and has since been granted political asylum in the United States. where he continued his work as a vocal advocate of children's rights.

Today after graduating from Amherst College Kimmie Weeks continues on a mission to protect children from war. He currently serves as Executive Director of Youth Action International, a youth run organization currently working to create the first center for war-affected women in Sierra Leone, rebuilding playgrounds destroyed by the Liberian civil war, and providing scholarships for war affected children. Kimmie also serves on the board of several non-profit organizations.

 In 2002, Kimmie started Youth Action International (YAI), a network of young people dedicated to helping children affected by war or living in difficult circumstances. YAI currently runs humanitarian programs in a number of African nations, and their programs include a center for empowering women in Sierra Leone, building schools and orphanages in Liberia and providing emergency medical care to the Karamojong people in Uganda.

Kimmie has been named a 2007 BRICK Awards Winner in the category of Global Impact.
Golden Brick Award honors young people under 25 years old who are working to change the world. Also in 2007, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf presented Kimmie with Liberia’s highest honor by decorating him Knight Grand Commander in the Humane Order of African Redemption. Kimmie is the youngest recipient of this honor. He is also featured in the new book Peace in Our Lifetime as an international peacemaker, along with Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Last update : 01/09/2009

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