John Ceesay

John was born in the small village called Ngieyegboiye, in Sierra Leone. During the civil war he was forced to flee through Guney Conakry to the Gambia, where he grew up. John is a so called ‘self-made man’. Although he never had any formal education, he has thought himself to speak over 10 different African languages. Because of his knowledge about people and their cultures, he got involved with several international development projects for youth from an early age.

Because of several circumstances in the Gambia, John was forced to flee to Europe. He undertook the rough journey through Africa to Libya and the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. After experiencing himself the dangers on this road, he knows how important it is to convince the youth not to make this risky journey. This can only be done by providing them with alternatives in their home country.

Jorinde Bijl

As a teenager, it was already Jorinde’s dream to start up a development project for children. For this reason she started university and obtained a degree in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. During her studies she worked for international development projects with children in Peru and on the Philippines. This way she could put the theories of her studies into practice.

After her studies Jorinde worked for the Refugee Network in Amsterdam. Meeting with refugees and hearing about their life histories, she got inspired to start the Master International Development Studies at Wageningen University. For her final graduation project she spent one year on Malta, where she conducted research on the lives of West-African youth. The hardships she experienced with these people, made Jorinde realize it was time to fulfill her life dream.

“The strength of the Education gives Hope foundation is the combination of Jorinde’s theoretical knowledge about international development collaboration and my practical knowledge about the local people and their habits,” says John.

Through this, they have established a close collaboration with the local people from the small village of Ngieyegboiye. Together with John and Jorinde they are creating more opportunities for their children and youth.