Some six students identified and sent to Turkey to study by the Government of Sierra Leone, are languishing in that country. Four of them studying in Istanbul explained their plight to this press at the Madison Hotel in that country’s commercial and cultural city.
One of them, Numeh Sesay who studies at Marmara University in Istanbul said he had not received a single cent from the government of Sierra Leone since he went to study almost two years ago and that he’d been making do with what the Turkish government had been offering him. He said much as he appreciated the host country’s assistance towards their upkeep that was far from adequate since it did not include cost of text books, augmenting his meals and other basic needs. He, like the others who study medicine, said text books are very expensive, adding that they had been borrowing from their colleagues.
Musu Quendeh Conteh and Victor Sullay Kamara both of whom study medicine at Istanbul University, also say they have not received a single cent from their home country since they arrived some two years ago. The others are Mohamed Muctar Sesay as well as Henry Kamara and Alpha Sesay who study in the capital Ankara and Antalya respectively.
“It is a shame that we have to borrow books from our colleagues from countries such as Djibouti, Madagascar and Gambia who receive regular allowance from their home countries,” said Numeh Sesay.
Deamad Amadu Conteh, who has lived in Turkey for seven years and has studied there, said even when he was a student their allowance from home was US$ 40 (forty) a month which he said could barely buy their exercise books. He said even then they would spend a good percentage of the allowance on telephone bills to make calls to the authorities home to pay them which had to go through Nigeria, Iran before reaching them. He said their colleagues from countries such as Gambia, Djibouti and Madagascar receive between $150 and $250 monthly and very promptly.
The students recounted how they spend their time thinking about their plight while their colleagues study. One of them who wiped his tears asked why his government had sent him “just to punish me in another man’s country”.
Meanwhile as at press time, a meeting was scheduled with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joseph B Dauda who is in Istanbul attending a UN summit. We will bring you details of that meeting tomorrow.