Aminata Lansana – Miss Sierra Leone 2019
I had so many dreams growing up I was a good girl, intelligent, smart, very obedient to my parents and elders and I was a good student with good grades. I had all my life planned out, I was to finish High School, go to university become a doctor, married to the man of my dreams, have children give them the best life possible, however, all these dreams came crashing down in 2006 just one year left for me to finish high school. I was told that I was going to get married to a man I’ve never met or seen or know and who was twice my age. I was angry, I was mad and I started doubting myself was I really that bad of a child that my family to do something like this to me? Was I not doing that well in school as I thought I was? Why me? Why deprive me of my dreams and my right to choose for myself? So many questions came flooding on me, what did I do so wrong for my parent to hurt me this bad to give me a way to someone that was close to my father’s age? I felt like at that moment that my whole dreams had been put on hold I was deprived of reaching. Because of this the rest of 2006 everything went down, my social life, my dreams and hope for the future and more especially my grades went down. The next school year 2007 I push harder because no matter what I had to finish high school at least to achieve one thing, with everything that was going on in my life my education was important to me.
2007 was the hardest year of my life that I will never forget, I was beating, mistreated to the point that I was almost disowned by my family just because I was fighting for my right, however, with all my fighting and rebellion against getting married right after finishing high school I was in a wedding gown to get married at the age of 17 to a man that was twice my age. I felt alone to be fighting a battle like this at my age a battle that was above me, I cried I was in pain mentally, emotionally I was destroyed You can imagine my frustration seen all my dreams shut up before my eyes the day of my wedding I’ll never forget not because I was happy but because I was crying inside my heart feeling all alone.
You may be wondering why is she telling us her life story when she should be telling us about her platform, well this is my platform from that day on I made a vow to fight this battle to the end no matter how long it takes me, because no other young woman should go through what I went through no young woman should be forced to marry at a very young age.
My platform is to bring awareness to end young women being forced into marriages, this is something that should not happen to any young woman, mentally, emotionally it will destroys a young woman for the rest of her life if she is not strong to stand and overcome those emotions she will forever feel inadequate, it took me years for me to stand strong to fight those emotions and tell myself that no matter what happened to me being deprived of my dreams I can still live my dreams no matter my age or circumstances and I can empower other young women to fight and know that they are not alone. This is something that happens not just in developing countries but it also in developed countries, it may happen in different ways. The question you may ask is how can we stop this practice from happening? By speaking more about it and letting people know that it does happen and bringing awareness to it because this is something that nobody talk about but it’s there and so many young women are victims and me and the support of the community needs to help young women in developing and developed countries that they are not alone.