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Aiken Student Shares Past in Refugee Camp, Future as Educator

An Aiken student is sharing his powerful story with the world. Enock Sadiki grew up in a refugee camp in Uganda. 

At the time, his family couldn’t afford for him to go to school. Now, Sadiki is set to graduate from Aiken High School this spring. He plans to attend Berea College to study education.

“I want to be an educator. My biggest goal is to go back to the village I lived in and start my own school to educate other kids in the refugee camp,” Sadiki said.

He’s already teaching children with his book, The Most Essential Part of My Life, created through Aiken’s Illustrated Memoir Program.

“I was teaching the kids about where I’m from and it was nice,” Sadiki said. “Teaching little kids about where I’m from, some of them understood and it gives them a different perspective of where people come from and how people are.” 

Sadiki served as a Global Guide for the World Affairs Council this past summer, sharing his book and his story with young students.

“It's a great thing for me because I help others see things differently and it's the whole point of why I want to be an educator,” Sadiki said. “I want to help people see different things and I think I bring out a different perspective for them.”

Dr. Kate Currie heads the Illustrated Memoir Program for international students at Aiken, working with 12 to 15 students each school year. It engages refugee and immigrant students to write and illustrate true stories about their lives, to form intellectual self-trust and foster a better understanding of their experiences.

“I do think it's so beneficial to the students when they create the stories, but there's also this wonderful value to other children in our community, and around the world, reading these stories and getting a better understanding of the refugee and immigrant experience and developing a little empathy for what those students have gone through and what amazing resources they are in our community,” Dr. Currie said. 

Aaron Parker, a teacher at Aiken, oversees the program, which is in its fourth year. 

“We just thought this was a great way for our students to reflect upon their experiences but also project forward on a promising future,” Parker said.

Parker says the program highlights the value of relationships.

“It's relationships with the student and the story, the relationship between the students that sit in a small group and work together, the relationships between the students and Dr. Currie and the educators who are providing wraparound support and so what it does is it fills them with a sense of self-efficacy,” Parker said.

Parker says the program has become a bright spot every week for students.

“We tell students all the time to read the story but here we're saying ‘your story.’ Your story is the one that's important and that’s what I think they carry forward in this and they know that they're special. They're unique,” Parker said.

Sadiki also plans to play soccer and run track for Berea College. 

“I wouldn’t be sitting here right now if it wasn’t for the teachers around me,” Sadiki said. “They helped me explore things and try new things in school.” 

His book, printed hundreds of times, is being sold in Northern Kentucky bookstores.