Ibrahim Sawi, Lions' Adult Learner Achievement Award Winner 2017
My name is Ibrahim Sawi and I came to Saskatoon in 2004. I really had a difficult life back home in Sierra Leone in West Africa. We had a rebel war there that affected the whole population. During that time my dad was killed. There was no place for our family to go, no food, not even drinking water.
My family and I were forced to separate and nobody knew where each other was. I escaped to the neighbouring country, Guinea. I was there for seven years, and applied to the United Nations refugee program, which is where I met my wife. We passed the interviews and came to Canada.
We felt lucky when we were met by the Saskatoon Open Door Society. I went to Kelsey Institute for ESL, but couldn’t continue as I needed to get a job so I could send money back to my remaining family.
I found work at Prairie Pride, a processing company. Back home I was a mechanic, so I was able to run the forklift at my new job. I was still in touch with my teacher at Kelsey and she told me about READ Saskatoon.
My work schedule allows me to have Wednesdays off, so now I meet my tutor weekly. In January I passed my forklift certification, required by my employer.
Now I’m working hard to get my A1 Professional Driver’s certificate so I can get a better job with more pay to support my family.
Another goal is to improve my English so that I can apply for Canadian citizenship.
Finally, I would like to thank the Lions for presenting me with this award, and bless READ Saskatoon and my tutor Colleen for helping me understand words and their meaning.