Ask 25-year-old Zaoro about his future plans and he will tell you, "I'll do what every graduate does, I'll start looking for a job!" This former SOS child has lived independently since 2006 and was the first from SOS Guinea to graduate from a university where he studied chemistry.
Computer training at SOS Conakry in Guinea. Photo from SOS Archives
One could imagine Zaoro's happiness and pride when he received distinction from the jury on May 26, 2007. Such happiness and pride was shared by his SOS Guinea family, who had come to support his final dissertation presentation. 28 SOS children, Mothers and staff were present to cheer and applaud Zaoro’s exciting accomplishment. Even the National Director of SOS Children's Villages Guinea was there to congratulate him.
Those who know Zaoro would say that his graduation was well-earned. His journey has been anything but easy. Before being admitted to SOS Children's Village Conakry, Zaoro lived in Liberia. Both of his parents were killed by rebels during the civil war, and Zaoro escaped the country with his uncle and brothers. They settled in N'Zérékoré, a southern city of Guinea close to the Liberian border. He was admitted to SOS Children's Village Conakry, and was eventually transferred to the SOS Youth Facility. As his SOS mother explains, "Zaoro was always helpful, respectful and wise; he also loved his SOS brothers and sisters. In school, he was always within the first ones of his class."
Zaoro was supposed to receive his dissertation subject in 2005, but he lost an entire academic year after being diagnosed with heart disease. His recovery took him a long time, but he is currently in good health and can be proud that he has been able to overcome adversity.
Zaoro has a whole new life ahead of him. He can use his new degree to build a future that will continue to honor the work of SOS Children's Villages Guinea. And even though he's living independently, he knows that whatever he does, his SOS family will always be there to support him.