Voice from Liberia
Kimmie Weeks has worked to alleviate poverty and human suffering in Africa and around the world since he was fourteen years old. Kimmie was born in Liberia 1981. When he was nine, Kimmie came face to face with civil war, human suffering, and death. He vividly recalls eating roots and wild leaves when his family did not have access to food, drinking infested water when national water supply was shut off, and nearly being buried alive after epidemics had wrecked his emaciated body. Over the years, Kimmie has formed partnerships and led organizations that have provided education to thousands of students in West Africa, lobbied the disarmament of over 20,000 child soldiers, and provided health care and recreation supplies to children.
In 1998, Kimmie Weeks investigated and released a groundbreaking report on the Liberian government’s involvement in the training of children as soldiers. As a result, former Liberian President Charles Taylor made several attempts to assassinate him until he fled Liberia and was granted political asylum in the United States. Once he came to the United States, Kimmie Weeks established an International organization called Youth Action International to support the needs of families living in post war countries. In 2008, Youth Action International’s programs benefited close to 150,000 people in six post war African countries.
Kimmie Weeks is the recipient of the 2007 Golden Brick Award which honors young people under 25 years old who are working to change the world. Also in 2007, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf presented Kimmie with Liberia’s highest honor by decorating him Knight Grand Commander in the Humane Order of African Redemption. Kimmie is the youngest recipient of this honor. He is also featured in the new book Peace in Our Lifetime as an international peacemaker, along with Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2008, MTV Canada and Discovery Chanel International profiled Kimmie’s work as part of a new reality series called 4REAL. Kimmie Weeks received his bachelors from Amherst College and his Masters from the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as Executive Director of Youth Action International. FUN FACT: Kimmie’s photo and bio is profiled on 20 million bags of cool ranch Doritos.