Mariatu Kamara is UNICEF Canada’s Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict and is also the founder of the Mariatu Foundation, which seeks to provide refuge and healing for women and children in her native Sierra Leone.Ms. Kamara is a survivor of the civil conflict in Sierra Leone.
At age 12, she was taken captive by rebel soldiers who cut off both her hands. This ordeal was followed by three years in a refugee camp. Ms. Kamara fled her native country in 2002 and received asylum in Canada.
Since then, Ms. Kamara has worked with both UNICEF and the North American NGO Free the Children to promote child rights and decry the impact of war on children. As a UNICEF Canada representative, she has visited programmes in Sierra Leone. She recently won the Voices of Courage Award from the Women's Refugee Commission.
Now 22, Ms. Kamara is currently studying counselling at George Brown College in Toronto. Her memoir, Bite of the Mango, was published in Canada in 2008.