1/3 My name used to be Mabinty Bangura and I was born in Sierra Leone during the Civil War. I was born with a skin condition called vitiligo, which made people believe I was cursed, and they would call me the Devil’s child. My parents realized that my future in Sierra Leone would be really hard. So from an early age on, they tried to educate me as much as possible. I was 3 years old when my father was killed by the rebels, while working in the mines. My mother and I had to go live with my uncle who believed I was cursed. Therefore, he would barely give us food. All the food that we got, my mother gave to me and she ended up dying of starvation. When she passed away, my uncle took me to an orphanage and I never saw him again. The orphanage was run by uneducated women, who were called “the aunties”. There were 27 children in this orphanage and we were ranked from number 1 to number 27. Child number 1 was their favourite and would get first choice of foods and clothes. Child number 27 would barely eat and wore rugs and because of my vitiligo, I was child number 27.

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