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Sierra Leoneans in Winnipeg celebrate 2016 Canada Day 

By Abu Bakarr Biggie Kamara 

On Friday, July 1, 2016, many Sierra Leoneans, young and old, converged at Kildonan Park to observe the 149th anniversary of Canada Day. The event was organized by the Sierra Leone Nationals Association of Manitoba (SALNAM). 

In true Canadian style, the celebration was community oriented, and as stated, a large number of community members and their friends were in attendance to witness this festive event, which featured various games and fun activities for adults and kids. The program ended on a high note, and the day's activities included music and chair, egg and spoon, tug of war, sac race, soccer and other fun games for kids. 

Also, there was lot to eat and drink: barbeque hot dogs, smokies, and burgers. Participants, in festive mood, partook in the feast, and mingled in different formations either to chat and play, or to exchange pleasantries and share camaraderie. Celebrants also enjoyed the enchanting music provided by D.J Nazer.

CANADA DAY As noted, the event was well attended, and SALNAM President, Abu Bakarr Biggie Kamara, in his brief remarks, welcomed and wished everyone a happy and a memorable celebration. He stated that SALNAM holds the event to provide the means for Sierra Leoneans like other Canadians, to come together with their family and friends to participate in the day's festivities. He observed that Canada is respected all over the world as a country that adheres to democratic principles and the rule of law, and that the event was also a reminder for participants to be appreciative and proud of their Canadian citizenship. 

He admonished participants to be grateful for the work of the country's ancestors and earlier generation of people including the country's past and present leaders who, he said, have worked hard over the years to build a prosperous and a great nation. 

He stressed on the need for Sierra Leoneans to be proud of their participation and the modest contributions they are making to the socio-economic and cultural development of the country.

He stated that "Canada is a progressive country which has come a long way to promote the human rights of all Canadians irrespective of their socio-economic status or gender orientation in society."  He observed that "prior to the rise of the suffrage movement, women had very limited rights in Canada as in other places in the world." "Women did not have the right to vote or to participate in the political process", he went on, and that "In Canada, Manitoba became the first province that allowed women to vote on January 28, 1916", he continued.

Today, he remarked, "about fifty percent of the cabinet at the federal level in Canada are women". This, he reiterated, is indeed a significant achievement for the country, he ended.

Indeed the celebration was a memorable one, and SALNAM wishes to thank the government of Canada for their financial support which made it possible for SALNAM to organize and celebrate the 149th birthday of our beloved Canada. We are all proud Canadians.


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Community adult learning IT program

I am excited to announce that SALNAM is about to launch a community adult learning IT program which will introduce our adult learners to IT literacy. The program is intended to cover the basic concepts of computing and teaches practical computing for daily use in life and at work. 

We rely on the generosity of community-minded individuals like you for support in achieving these projects. Our resource center needs to acquire audio visual equipment to be effective in delivering our tutoring material. For example, a flat screen T.V. would serve us in multiple ways. Without your assistance we would not be able to acquire these items.  

We ask that you commit to supporting our project. Our goal is to raise $2000.00, and we hope that you will be able to contribute by making a cash donation.

Your generosity, regardless of the amount, will make a difference in our community. 

If you would like more information about our project or have any questions, please contact Mr. Ken-Abu Kamara by telephone at 204-299-5489.  

On behalf of our community, we are thankful for your contribution.


Abubakarr Sidique Mankotta Kay

Written by Friday, 27 November 2015 12:58

Alie Hassan Nasralla

Written by Friday, 27 November 2015 12:21

My name is Alie Hassan Nasralla (DJ NAZER) I am the vice president of Sierra Leone Nationals Association of Manitoba (SALNAM). I believe that anything we do in a community requires us to be familiar with our people, our issues, and our history, a good way to accomplish this was what led me to volunteered for the Sierra Leone community in Winnipeg in various capacities subsequently few years of my arrival to Canada 10 years ago. I began my volunteer tasks as a regular community member, took on the leadership of the cultural wing of the organization for 2 consecutive folklorama sessions training and organizing the dance troupe to participate at the African Pavilion.

My leadership in organizing and coordinating the cultural activities over the years has enabled our dance troupe youths to put up outstanding performances at folklorama and other cultural events and also enhanced their knowledge of Sierra Leone’s diverse culture. I have offered my musical system in support of our fundraising activities many times and I have being donating part of the proceeds of my RED N’ WHITE social for the last four years. 

As current vice the long-term history of this community is very important to me and I will work very hard to preserve it. I am proud of our elders who initiated this organization as a community in this city, Winnipeg. Now we can afford valuable information about factions within the community and how to mend it, important issues, past and current relationships among key people and groups many of the factors that can trip up our effort of reconciliation. 

I have noticed that many aspects of our country’s social structures are integrated into our relationships here in Winnipeg and there are also the questions of how people in our community relate to one another on a daily basis, how problems are (or aren't) resolved, who socializes or does business with whom, etc. As your vice I will work with my President to address these core issues. Please let’s work together as one people!


Written by Monday, 15 December 2014 00:00


By Abu Bakarr Biggie Kamara

The Sierra Leone Nationals Association of Manitoba (SALNAM) held a fundraising dinner on Friday, November 21, 2014, in support of the fight to eradicate the Ebola disease that has taken the lives of many people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The event took place at the Canad Inns, at Windsor Park, in Winnipeg, Canada. 

Among the list of invited dignitaries and other notable guests were the Honorable Matt Wiebe, Christine Melnick, Manitoba’s former minister of Multiculturalism, and Dr. Jim Strong, a virologist from Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. 

At the beginning of the program, SALNAM vice president, Abu Bakarr Biggie Kamara welcomed and thanked all participants in attendance for supporting the fundraiser. 

He talked briefly about Sierra Leone's under-funded and disastrous Health Care system and the launching of the Ebola Campaign in Winnipeg. He highlighted the need to help Sierra Leone during this challenging moment, and stated that the country is emerging from a decade-old and brutal civil war that left the economy in shambles, including the health care system of Sierra Leone which lacks the capacity to handle the Ebola pandemic adequately.

He went on to say that" SALNAM, as an organization that promotes the cultural heritage of Sierra Leoneans in Manitoba, and due to the seriousness of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone; decided to be a part of the solution to the outbreak by launching the Ebola Campaign. He also said that the Campaign which ends at the end of the year, is to complement the efforts of global participants with the aim of eradicating this deadly disease once and for all." 

The Honorable Matt Wiebe, a member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, brought greetings on behalf of the government and people of Manitoba. He commended SALNAM and the Sierra Leone Community for their important and proactive role in creating awareness about the seriousness of this deadly Ebola disease among the people of Manitoba. 

He concluded by asserting that "your community has really shown the resolve and resilience in bringing this issue to light in our province and that is a good thing".

He also briefly reminded the audience about the $100,000.00 donation made by the government which he announced in September at SALNAM's Ebola Awareness rally that was held on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature.  

He continued by saying that "Tonight I am happy to announce that the Manitoba government will also provide additional help of over $3 million worth of respirator masks directly to Sierra Leone by mid-December to help folks on the ground." 

He assured our community that the government of Manitoba remains committed to fighting the spread of this horrible disease. 

Janice Hamilton, Executive Director of Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) an organ that administers funds provided by the Manitoba government to assist in the fight against Ebola, highlighted how the funds were being distributed to charitable organizations, including UNICEF Canada and other reputable organizations, involved in the fight against Ebola in the affected countries. 

She also talked about an additional donation of $ 150,000.00 recently given by the Manitoba government and that most of that money will go towards efforts of fighting against Ebola in Sierra Leone. 

The guest speaker for the evening, Dr. Jim Strong, gave a 30 minute presentation on the Ebola virus and on his role as an Infectious Diseases Specialist helping to contain the spread of this deadly disease. 

He highlighted some of the reasons, including cultural practices that might have contributed to the prevalence and the spread of the Ebola disease in Sierra Leone and in the other affected countries. 
Dr. Strong, who is also a consultant with the World Health Organization (W.H.O), works at the National Microbiology Laboratory of Canada. He and other microbiologists are assigned by the government of Canada to help run a mobile Lab in Sierra Leone. He also noted that their organization has also donated hundreds of doses of the Zmapp vaccine used to cure Ebola, to the W.H.O.

Another speaker at the function, Garth Tohms, gave an account of his experience volunteering in setting up and running a treatment Centre in Sierra Leone. He is a plumber from Winnipeg sent by the Canadian Red Cross to volunteer in Sierra Leone. 

Both speakers talked about the friendliness and hospitality of the Sierra Leonean people.

Following Mr. Tohms' presentation, SALNAM president, Allieu Sesay, presented gifts to the speakers and handed over a cheque for $10,000.00 to the Canadian Red Cross. Mr. Garth Tohms received the cheque on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross. 

Before the presentations, Mr. Sesay recognized the chair of the SALNAM Ebola Campaign Committee, Ismail Yumkella who was absent due to extenuating circumstances. He, Mr. Sesay, also commended Mr. Yumkella for the important leadership role he has demonstrated in the Campaign.

Presenting the cheque, Mr. Sesay lauded the efforts of Red Cross Canada for their involvement in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone and in the other affected West African countries. He said "we are giving this cheque to your organization, the Canadian Red Cross because of your credibility and your active involvement in the fight against Ebola." He, the president of SALNAM concluded that "we have no doubts that we are placing our hard earned dollars in the right hands."

Mr. Garth Tohms who received the cheque on behalf of Canadian Red Cross,  thanked SALNAM and the Sierra Leone Community for their generous gesture to help save the lives of people in their homeland. He assured the organization that their donation will be utilized for its intended purpose.

The amount represents 70 percent of proceeds from the sale of t-shirts (to date) printed by Black Pearl Press, to support the SALNAM Ebola Campaign. Black Pearl Press is a local business owned by Alex Bockarie, a community member who is also a past president of SALNAM.

As noted, the function was well attended by people from all walks of life. Throughout the event, it was a sight to behold as participants from different racial, cultural and other backgrounds were seen mingling, chatting, sharing camaraderie and exchanging pleasantries. What a feat.

SALNAM Executive Council would like to thank the Ebola Committee members for their hard work in planning this event. The Council also wishes to thank all Sierra Leoneans, their friends and other philanthropists in Winnipeg who came out in large numbers, to help make this event a humongous success. 

SALNAM, for starters, is a nonprofit, community based organization, formed in 1980 with a clear mandate to promote the cultural heritage and values of Sierra Leoneans living in the province of Manitoba, Canada.

Finally, SALNAM and the Sierra Leone Community in Manitoba would like to thank the government and the people of Manitoba for joining the Sierra Leone Community to fight this dreaded disease. We appreciate their generous support and understanding.

Indeed, this donation has shown that Manitoba is a friendly and a caring province that comes to the aid of others in times of crisis.


On Thursday, December 4, 2014, the Sierra Leone Nationals Association of Manitoba (SALNAM) was formally recognized in the Legislative Chamber of the province of Manitoba, Canada, for their role in creating awareness about the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, and for their efforts to solicit funds and related material help, to help in the fight against the spread of this deadly disease. Also recognized was Dr. Jim Strong, a virologist, for his active role in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Amidst deafening applause and a standing ovation by Members of the Legislature; the Honourable Christine Melnick, in a Member Statement, described SALNAM as a heroic organization that is playing a pivotal role in Winnipeg, in bringing the Ebola issue to the attention of the people of Manitoba. She called on the government to take further steps to help save the lives of those who are dying from this terrible outbreak.

She informed Members of the Legislature about a cheque for $10,000.00 that SALNAM had presented to the Canadian Red Cross at SALNAM's fundraiser on November 21, meant to provide funds to support the fight against the spread of the Ebola epidemic. She also informed the Honourable Members about donations, including the over 3 million N95 respirator masks worth $ 3.4 million, that the Manitoba government has provided since the beginning of the SALNAM Ebola Campaign in August.

She observed that "we as a government are making a difference by saving lives." She also referred to the hardwork of individuals like Dr. Jim Strong, and organizations like SALNAM. She described SALNAM members as dedicated community people, and commended the organization for mobilising the community to help in the fight against the spread of the Ebola disease.

Following the ceremony in the Chamber, the Honourable Christine Melnick and the Honourable Matt Wiebe joined SALNAM members in attendance at the Rotunda of the Legislative Building for brief discussions about the general state of the Campaign. During the discussions, both Honourable Members noted that the Sierra Leone Community is a strong and a vibrant community. Mr. Wiebe also mentioned that, this is the second time that the Legislature has recognized SALNAM for their good community work on behalf of their members. "Keep doing the good work SALNAM, and you should be proud of yourselves for all your achievements", he continued.

All attendees are members of the SALNAM Ebola Campaign Committee (SECC) and they included: Allieu Sesay (SALNAM president), Abu Bakarr Kamara (vice president), Ismail Yumkella (Chair, SALNAM Ebola Campaign Committee), Fredo Ali Kamara, Simeon Ganda, Zainab Kanu, and Margaret Mafinda. The president of the African Communities of Manitoba (ACOMI), Andre Doumbe, was also present.

Dr. Strong works for Canada's Virology Laboratory in Winnipeg. He is also a professor at the University of Manitoba, and a consultant for the W.H.O. He recently returned from Sierra Leone, and he was the keynote speaker at the SALNAM Ebola fundraiser held on November 21.
About $9,800.00 was collected at this fundraising dinner.

SALNAM and the Sierra Leone Community would like to express their profound gratitude to the Honourable Christine Melnick for organizing this event. SALNAM would also like to register their appreciation, once again, to the government of Manitoba for the generous donations towards the fight against ebola.

Below is a scanned copy of the Recognition Certificate. You will also find a Letter from Manitoba's Minister of Health, Sharon Blady, indicating the amount and cost of respirator masks being shipped to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The minister also acknowledged SALNAM for their advocacy work and for bringing this pressing issue into the hearts of Manitobans:

This far exceeds our expectations

Written by Friday, 12 December 2014 00:00

"This far exceeds our expectations and I'm personally touched that we, as a community, have done something for our people back home." The words of Dr. Ismail Yumkella, Chairman of the Ebola Campaign Committee in Winnipeg, Canada, at last night's meeting. "The next step is a meeting with CHARITAS sometime next week ", he added.

Dr. Yumkella was reacting to the final report of Mr. Eriqueson Tayo-Jones who deputized him as Chairman during the recent Ebola fundraising dinner at Canad Inns, Windsor Park in Winnipeg, Canada.

Get your calculators for the breakdown: Dinner, $9,833.05; Donations from individual community members, $3,912.03; Sierra Ambassadors of Manitoba (Golden Conclave), $1000; and Winnipeg Central Mosque,$1100. Total $15,845.08. Deduct $1,958.00 from that as the total expenditure (with all receipts displayed), we have a cool $13,887.08!

Don't forget that this fundraising has nothing to do with the sale of T-shirts that's still in progress. The money from the T-shirts will go to the Canadian Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) to fight Ebola regionally (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone). The rest of the proceeds from our fundraising effort will go directly to Sierra Leone through the tested and trusted CHARITAS.

It isn’t over yet, folks: The way to cover our expenditure is where you and I will part company. On so-called popular request, it has been decided that the coupon that Canad Inns donated to SALNAM (worth $150) for one night stay at the hotel, will be raffled openly to the entire community. Yes, the raffle will no longer be limited to committee members only and I'm not laughing. Interestingly, they're going to auction five tickets for $10. Unbelievable ... totally ... You know what? I'm more Canad Inns material than ... Look, I'm winning that coupon hands down, period!

Written by, 

Fredo Ali Kamara


Written by Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:00

Happening now...Sierra Leone Nationals Association of Manitoba (SALNAM) rallying for awareness at the Manitoba Legislative building, Winnipeg