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It was in 1999 after fleeing a coup in his native country, Sierra Leone, to neighbouring Guinea. West Africa, Samuel Thoronka was a man without a country. After several days of sleeping under the sky in Guinea Capital, Conakry, he decided to find something to do. He started a school in 2000 with an old friend from Sierra Leone. He rounded up 35 English-speaking children age 3 to 11 yrs and began teaching them. He made a school out of a porch and a shack.

Sabu received an unexpected boost up when Tiani Jeremy Tarr –an American artist rediscovered the makeshift school in a shack while in Conakry studying drumming.

Back in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, Tarr rallied members of the West African drumming community and the Unitarian church to help the school achieve its mission of educating students who could become future leaders of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea

Today, the Sabu International School has grown from one classroom to a K-12 school with 470 eager students, 22 staff members, and a group of involved parents. The school now leases two buildings in a fenced compound and teaches not only refugees from Sierra Leone, but also children from Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and a few African Americans. The children range age from 3 to 18+.“We are making a difference,” Samuel Said. “It will be the next generation that goes through Sabu who will spread the message of mutual respect and non-violence. I invite you to make a difference in a child’s life.

What does Sabu mean?

To many ethnic groups in West Africa, Sabu is a liaison that brings things together and giving HOPE. Donors are the children’s “sabu” because they give them opportunity for education. The school is “sabu” to the families because it gives them hope