On March 23, 2017, The Grace Foundation, through its ‘Give with Grace’ initiative, presented SOS Children’s Villages with a donation of $72,700 to support its efforts in building families for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children.
Messiah Moore, an SOS alumnus, attended the event and shared with attendees his experience living in an SOS Village in Liberia.
Below is the speech written by Messiah that was presented at the event.
First of all, On behalf of SOS Children here in the US and all around the world, I want to thank Grace hotel and all of you here today for your tremendous support. Thank you for having me here also. My name is Messiah Moore, and I grew up in an SOS Village in Monrovia, Liberia. Many of you may have heard of Liberia in the past few years: it was one of the countries impacted by the 2014 Ebola outbreak that claimed the lives of thousands of people.
Unfortunately, this was not the first time my country has been struck by a crisis.
During the 1980s up to the early 2000s, Liberia went through a cruel, long-lasting civil war. The conflict killed over 200,000 Liberians and left many people living in poverty. Millions of people were displaced and forced into refugee camps in neighboring countries.
My father fled the country, leaving my mother to care for me, but because she was caught on the violent side of the war, she left me in the care of my uncle when I was 10 years old.
But my uncle also did not have the means to take care of me. I was with him for less than a year. My uncle wanted a better life for me so he took me to an SOS Village in Monrovia, Liberia, where I was welcomed into an SOS Family.
In a country like Liberia, SOS Children’s Villages is seen as a beacon of hope for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. I felt very excited to move to the SOS Village. I had food, a home, and the chance to play and be a kid.
I finally felt safe. It felt like heaven.
The Grace Foundation presents SOS Children’s Villages with a donation to support its efforts in building families for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children.
At the SOS Village, I lived with nine other children and my SOS Mother, Deddeh. She was very supportive of all the children. She loved us, guided us, and provided moral support. I was raised with other children who became my brothers and sisters. To this day, we still meet for holidays and celebrate life’s greatest moments together.
I also was able to attend the local SOS school. With the support from my SOS Mother, I excelled in school. I was later accepted to the Hermann Gmeiner High School in the Gambia to continue my secondary school education. There I was chosen among my peers to attend an international college in Norway from 1999 to 2001. I received an international baccalaureate degree through this program along with 200 other students from around the world.
In 2001, I was offered a scholarship to Luther College in Iowa and received my bachelor’s degree in chemistry. I moved to the east coast, where I worked for three years as a chemist in Philadelphia. In 2009, I went back to school at the University of Minnesota where I received my doctor of pharmacy degree. While in Minnesota, I also met the woman who would become my wife.
Today, I am a clinical pharmacist at Bayhealth Medical Center-Kent General Hospital in Dover, Del., where I live with my wife and my newborn son, Melique. SOS has helped prepare me to be a good father by providing me with a home full of love, stability, and opportunity. I hope to provide Melique the same as he grows into a man.
My SOS brothers and sisters are also successful and starting families of their own. We all have found ways to continue to give back to our communities and support others, like us, who need help.
This is why I continue to support SOS as an adult.
Because of the support provided to me by my sponsors, I am now “paying it forward” as a sponsor to a little girl named Purity in Zambia. I remember how important this relationship was for me as a kid, and how those sponsors allowed me to live my childhood the way children are supposed to – in a safe and happy home.
I am living proof of the investment that donors, sponsors, and child advocates have made in SOS Children’s Villages. I believe that every child deserves the same opportunities that I have had.