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The story about a refugee from Sierra Leone

South African born Afia won a prize with a moving story
31 October 2008. Talented Palmer’s College student Afia Ameyaw -Gyarko attained a prestigious ‘commended’ award for her inspiring essay submitted for the 2008 International Commonwealth Essay Competition.

South African born Afia, 18 from Basildon wrote a moving short story about a young refugee from Sierra Leone who immigrated to London. She describes his journey in detail from being raised in a war-torn West African country where innocent victims were caught up in the country’s civil war and witnessing a number of deaths and brutal killings himself.

The story explains how the refugee finally gets the chance to move to London where he is able to start his new life. She describes how he struggles in the western world where he knows no one but slowly his confidence grows and he is able to find work, make friends and make a life for himself.

Afia first came to the UK four years ago with her family but they decided to move back to South Africa a few months ago. Courageous Afia stayed as she was determined to get herself an education and pursue her dream of becoming a writer. She has no family in the UK but has made some really good friends.

Afia said: “I love writing, its something I’m really passionate about. I heard about the competition on the internet and applied. To be awarded a commended award is great but next year I’m aiming to gain the highest award, which is highly commended.”

Mark Vinall, Principal of Palmer’s College said: “Afia has an amazing and compelling life story to tell. She is an inspiration to the College and her fellow students. I have every confidence in her achieving her dream and becoming a highly successful writer.”

The Commonwealth Essay Competition is an international education project open to all young Commonwealth citizens. The 2008 Competition drew over 6,700 entries from 1,300 schools across the world.

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