Fazineh Keita grew up in Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa. He spent his childhood caught up in the conflict of the Sierra Leonean Civil War. As a former child soldier he knows the struggles, hardships and the after-effects that war has on a person. Instead of allowing his past to control his life, he’s focused his energies into a positive force for good and change in the world. As a musician, writer, actor and director, he focuses on telling his story and others like it to inspire a generation. Fazineh moved to Canada to pursue his career and graduated from Vancouver Film School in 2011. His purpose in life is to tell stories, educate youth, help people and prevent the use of child soldiers in all world conflicts.
Ava Vanderstarren believes that no child should be involved in conflict or have their innocence stolen away from them. She came up with the idea for ILF through her partner Fazineh and the desire to make a positive impact in the world. Ava was born in Canada and is currently based in B.C. In July 2013 she won the title of Miss British Columbia 2013/14 with her platform being rehabilitation of child soldiers. Ava is an actress and model who graduated from Vancouver Film School in 2011. She is also an advocate for women’s rights and equality for women around the world.
Talk Title: Ending Child Soldiering and Finding Healing After War
Fazineh Keita and Ava Vanderstarren have started the non-profit Innocence Lost Foundation to build community and rehabilitation centres for child soldiers and youth in Africa.
They are about to launch their first project which is a community centre for Kabala, Sierra Leone that will provide a medical clinic, food, water, education, skills training, therapy, arts and sports programs to the community.
During their BIL talk Fazineh, who was a former child soldier, will share some of his stories and they will outline their plan to take action to end these issues in the world and to get help to the children and communitites that need healing.
They will cover a brief outline of their first project and how people can get involved in the mission.