Changing perceptions begins with us

As a Paralympic table tennis player, ranked third in Africa and the only Sierra Leonean to have won medals internationally, George is a shining example of the remarkable things that persons with disabilities are accomplishing. Beyond that though, he has a powerful message about changing perceptions and he’s challenging young people to look at their disabilities differently.

A natural-born sportsman

As a young boy, George always liked sports. He started playing football in primary school, where he never had any reason to be shy because everyone was disabled and everyone played just as he did — with their hands. George’s passion for sports continued in secondary school where he fell in love with table tennis. Despite the words of mockery that echoed from his peers, George never gave up. “I always like to do what is impossible, so I follow that dream”. He played as much as he could.

Following his dream

A coach who had seen him play was eager to have George play professionally. He asked him time and time again, but George declined. It wasn’t until George’s mother, one of his biggest sources of motivation and strength, gave her seal of approval, that he decided to pursue the sport professionally. Eventually, he began competing nationally and internationally, leading him to represent Sierra Leone at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Leave no one behind

George met OneFamilyPeople through friends and immediately felt connected to the organisation and their ability to change the lives of persons with disabilities. “My aim, or my dream, is to help young disabled people to achieve their dreams. If I have the power, I want to help them achieve even more than I have done.” He got involved with OneFamilyPeople as an ambassador for the ‘Leave No One Behind’ campaign. He has inspired a large number of disabled boys and girls to strive for their hopes and dreams.

Changing your own perspective

Accomplishing great things is not just about having the opportunity or the proper platform. It took tremendous patience, perseverance and self-confidence for George to get where he is now, but he believed in himself and his ability. “If you want to change perceptions, first you need to change your own perspectives”. He continues to model this mantra and encourages persons with disabilities to look at their disability differently and use it to motivate themselves. “If I can do it, you can do it — maybe even more than me”.