Since the beginning of the ShoesToShare Journey, we have been lucky enough to meet some truly phenomenal people and today’s article is about one of those people, Sam Jalloh. Sam is a tennis coach from Southport, Liverpool, who grew up in Sierra Leone during their bloody civil war. He is about to embark on a motivational tour of Africa called, Motivate Africa, with a big plan to change lives. This journey will involve over 200 pairs of incredible shoe donations from our ShoeToShare community and we can’t wait to see Sam work his inspirational magic.
Sam was born in Wilberforce, Sierra Leone in 1982, living with his mother, father and eleven siblings, living off no more than $1 each day. To add to the early adversity, Sam comes from a city with the highest infant mortality rate on Earth. To try and give Sam a better chance, his father informed him that he was to be adopted by a family that would give him a better shot at becoming a doctor. Things didn’t work out so well with this new family and so Sam headed to a life on the streets at the tender age of 9.
This decision came right around the time that a violent and bloody civil war erupted in the country. A time when brutality, loss and infant soldiers became the norm.
Thankfully, however, Sam found comfort, community and ambition in the form of tennis, a sport that offered sanctuary to Sam. It offered him a sense of escapism and a network of friends that have lasted a life time. Demonstrating a real natural eye for the sport, paired with a un-relenting ability to endure, Sam quickly climbed the tennis ranks. He often reflects on one of his proudest moments being when he got to carry his nation’s flag, representing his country at the All-African games. Research a little more about Sam, and you will find out that tennis did actually help save his life during military capture.
Despite the adversity and challenges Sam has faced to this point, Sam continues to express pride for the country whose flag he flew. Sam has an outlook that can only be admired, always believing in the power of forgiveness and the tender relationship between love and hate.
Motivate Africa will see Sam travel to 10 different countries in 4 weeks across Africa. His mission? Simple…to inspire the younger generation and give them hope. We wish Sam the best of luck with his trip and can’t wait to see the impact he will have.
If you would like to follow Sam’s journey, you can follow him on Instagram: @jallohsam.
If you would like to support the Motivate Africa trip, you can find the GoFundMe page here.