Kimmie discusses his early years in Liberia and the founding of Youth Action International
Kimmie Weeks was born in the West African nation of Liberia on December 6, 1981. Civil war broke out in Liberia in 1989 and he and his mother were forced to flee their home with no belongings. They found refuge in a school with many other victims of the civil war. Facing starvation and disease, Weeks was at one point given up for dead, but he survived and was determined to help others that were similarly affected by the war. At the age of ten, he organized a group to clean up the debris left by the war in local communities and also began volunteering in hospitals caring for sickly babies and children. Three years later, Weeks established Liberia’s first child rights advocacy and humanitarian organization run by young people, The Voice of the Future. It is a partner of the United Nations agency for children, UNICEF, works on several humanitarian programs, and provides health, informal education, and recreation for children in three Liberian counties. In 1996, Weeks founded the Children’s Disarmament Campaign and, with the support of UINCEF, was successful in disarming children who were lured to become armed in the civil war. At the age of seventeen, his life was threatened because he issued a report on the Liberian government’s involvement in training child soldiers. He was granted political asylum and came to the United States. He attended Amherst College from 2001 – 2005, graduating during May, 2005. Weeks continues his work through his organization Youth Action International, founded in 2002, and plans to continue improving the prospects for young people throughout Africa in the years to come.
Interview part I – Kimmie Weeks talks about his early years in Liberia
Interview part 2 – Kimmie talks about being a young peace activist in Liberia