Mariatu Kamara: “I was 12 years old when my hands were cut off by the rebels”

Meet Mariatu. She grew up in western Sierra Leone. In 1999, at the age of 12 she was raped. A few days later, child soldiers amputated both of her hands.


She came to Canada in 2003.

Today she studies social work at college in Toronto and works for UNICEF Canada.

She has co-written a book, Bite of the Mango, about her experiences.

Quotes from the interview:

“I came from a very large family in Sierra Leone…we were poor, but we were rich in love and respect, and caring for each other.”

“This man offered me a mango when I was looking for help…it gave me the strength to continue…a second chance in life.”

“I choose the road of forgiveness.”

“Every day you wake up and don’t see your hands, and you see other people with two hands…it’s very discouraging.”

“I hope to go back some day – Sierra Leone is my homeland no matter what happened.”

“My cousins are still there…I have everything…a bed to sleep on…a warm home…they don’t have the opportunities that I have…so I feel very privileged.”