By Dr. Messiah Moore
I attended SOS Hermann Gmeiner International High School in Gambia.
My name is Messiah Moore, and I grew up first in SOS Children’s Village in Monrovia, Liberia.
During the 1980s up to the early 2000s, Liberia went through a cruel, long-lasting civil war. The conflict killed over 200,000 Liberians and left many people living in poverty. Millions of people were displaced and forced into refugee camps in neighboring countries.
My father fled leaving my mother alone to care for me – but because she was caught on the violent side of the war, she left me in the care of my uncle when I was just ten years old. But my uncle also did not have the means to take care of me. I was with him for less than a year. My uncle wanted a better life for me, so he took me to an SOS Children’s Village in Monrovia, Liberia, where I was welcomed into an SOS Family.
In a country like Liberia, the SOS Children’s Village is seen as a beacon of hope for orphaned, abandoned, destitute and other vulnerable children. I felt very excited to move to the SOS Village. I had food, a home, and the chance to play and be a kid. I finally felt safe. It felt like heaven.
At the SOS Village, I lived with nine other children and my SOS Mother. She was very supportive of all the children. She loved us, guided us, and provided moral support. I was raised with other children who became my SOS brothers and sisters. To this day, we still meet for holidays and celebrate life’s greatest moments together whenever we can.
I also was able to attend the local SOS school. With the support from my SOS mother and my older SOS brothers and sisters, I excelled in school.
I was later accepted to attend the Hermann Gmeiner International High School in The Gambia to continue my secondary school education. I spent two years in The Gambia from 1997 to 1999 and completed my secondary education. There I was also chosen among my peers to attend an international college, Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway from 1999 – 2001. I received an international baccalaureate diploma through this program along with 200 other students from about 80 countries around the world.
In 2001, I was offered a scholarship and financial assistance to attend Luther College in Iowa where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry in 2005. I then moved to the east coast. I worked for three and a half years as a chemist in a pharmaceutical company in Philadelphia. In 2009, I went back to school at the University of Minnesota where I received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree While in Minnesota, I also met my wife, Lydia. We have a 3-year-old son, Melique who has brought so much joy to our lives.
Today, I am a pharmacist at Maple Grove Hospital in Minnesota. SOS has helped prepare me to be a good father by providing me with a home full of love, stability, and opportunity. I hope to provide Melique the same as he grows into a man.
I have also found ways to continue to give back to our communities and support others, like us, who need help. This is why I continue to support SOS as an adult.
Because of the support provided to me by my sponsors, I am now “paying it forward” as a sponsor to a little girl in Zambia. I remember how important this relationship was for me as a kid, and how those sponsors allowed me to live my childhood the way children are supposed to – in a safe and happy home.
I am living proof of the investment that donors, sponsors, and child advocates have made in SOS Children’s Villages. I believe that every child deserves the same opportunities that I have had.