Triumph in the Face of Great Adversity
We have an amazing story to share with you. It highlights success in the fight against homelessness and triumph of the human spirit in the face of great adversity.
Former Bethany Hill School resident Fatmata Conteh will do a reading from her memoir “My Journey” on October 27, 2011. The book grew from Fatmata’s essay-writing in her English literacy classes at BHS, and chronicles her life during Sierra Leone’s 10 year civil war, her move to America, and her time at Bethany Hill School.
The full release is below. Enjoy this uplifting story!
Bethany Hill School Helps Resident Start New Life After Surviving Civil War, Write Memoir “My Journey”
FRAMINGHAM, MA – Oct 20, 2011 – Bethany Hill School is pleased to announce that former Bethany Hill School resident Fatmata Conteh will do a reading from her memoir “My Journey” at BHS on October 27, 2011. This miraculous little book has grown from Fatmata’s essay-writing in her English Literacy classes at Bethany Hill School.
Fatmata came to Bethany Hill School in 2006 after surviving a brutal ten year civil war in Sierra Leone in which she lost her husband, her business, her home, and her homeland. She left behind the Kaningo Primary School which she founded for the orphans of her devastated town, and six of her eight children with the intention of reuniting the family in the United States.
She was referred to Bethany Hill School by SMOC, the South Middlesex Opportunity Council, who thought she would be a good fit for the School’s unique program.
“We provide far more than just affordable housing,” says Trish Appert, Executive Director of Bethany Hill School. “The success of the Bethany Hill School model is in the dual focus on work skills as well as foundational and family/life skills. We recognize education is a strong antidote to poverty and believe citizens of a civil and engaged society require good jobs and strong families. Bethany Hill School focuses on both to help transform the lives of our residents and their children.”
Fatmata has taken full advantage of the various programs offered by BHS staff and volunteers, including tutoring for her US citizenship test, driving lessons to attain her driver’s license, assistance finding employment, and additional tutoring in computer education, English literacy and GED math. Fatmata has also participated in numerous other Adult Education workshops provided to BHS residents.
“I am grateful for what everyone is doing for people at Bethany Hill School,” said Conteh. “People at BHS have changed my life and made it better.”
Thanks to the help she received at BHS, Fatmata was recently able to move on from Bethany Hill School. She now lives in a larger apartment where she resides with her two youngest children who have recently come to the United States from Sierra Leone.
“Fatmata has been an important member of the BHS community and has taken part in many of our programs,” said Sister Denise Kelly, Program Director at Bethany Hill School. “We are proud of all she has accomplished and wish her well as she moves on to the next chapter of her life.”
Bethany Hill School is also a supporter of Fatmata’s Kaningo Primary School and has raised money for the school through several resident-run public service projects. Residents are encouraged to get involved with the community by volunteering for causes that are important to them. Fatmata’s book reading will feature a raffle and a pencil sale organized by BHS residents to support the Kaningo Primary School in her hometown. Copies of Fatmata’s book will also be available for purchase.
About Bethany Hill School
Founded in 1994 in response to the rise in family homelessness, Bethany Hill School is a unique model of affordable housing that provides educational opportunities to over 105 individuals & families in Framingham, MA. Nearly 80% of BHS residents have experienced homelessness, and all are faced with significant challenges such as mental illness, developmental and learning disabilities, domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and limited formal education and academic and job skills. By providing affordable housing along with programming in a wide range of educational, health and social services that meets diverse resident needs, the Bethany Hill School offers a holistic approach to confronting the issues surrounding homelessness. Sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, BHS is a certified 501(c)3 organization. For more information on Bethany Hill School please visit: www.BethanyHillSchool.org or www.facebook.com/BethanyHillSchool.
Media Contact: Mariel Manzone, Director of Mission Advancement