In 1999, Sierra Leone was in the midst of a brutal civil war where mindless violence and the rape of young enslaved women were everyday weapons. It was also where rebel soldiers snatched the young Aminata Conteh-Biger from her father’s arms, then held her captive for months.
After she was released, and still a teenager, she was put on a plane and flown to Australia to start afresh as a refugee. It is here that she has proudly built a life, while never allowing her trauma to define her. Yet it was a near-death experience she suffered during the birth of her child that turned her attention to the women of Sierra Leone – where they are 200 times more likely to die while having a baby than in Australia. So she set up the Aminata Maternal Foundation, then returned to the land of her birth to help. This is her story.