Mariatu Kamara: A Tale of Survival

Mariatu Kamara: A Tale of Survival

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the Canadian War Museum is pleased to host Mariatu Kamara, a child victim of the civil war in Sierra Leone and featured in the special exhibition 11 Women Facing War. Now living in Toronto, Mariatu is UNICEF Canada’s Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict. She travels the world to share her personal story of how she survived a rebel attack that left her with no hands.

This event will give visitors the opportunity to meet a courageous survivor and to learn more about this conflict. Before the event, meet up with Dr. Andrew Burtch, the curator of 11 Women Facing War who will take you on a special tour of the exhibition.

Kamara was one of about 20,000 people—half of them children—maimed during the bloody, bitter civil war that devastated her West African country from 1991 to 2002. An estimated 50,000 Sierra Leoneans were killed, and two million fled to neighbouring countries as refugees.

When the war ended, Kamara came to Canada as a refugee, enrolled in English classes in Toronto, graduated from high school and learned to live independently without hands. She decided to become a social worker, studying at George Brown College in Toronto, so she could help women and children who have been abused. She is a UNICEF Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, and was honoured in 2009 with the Voices of Courage Award from the Women's Refugee Commission in New York City.

Opening address by The Honourable Landon Pearson

The Honourable Landon Pearson O.C. is a long-time advocate for the rights and well-being of children. Prior to her appointment to the Senate of Canada in 1994, where she became known as the Children’s Senator as well as the Senator for Children, she had extensive experience as a volunteer with a number of local, national and international organizations concerned with children.

In May 1996, Senator Pearson was named Advisor on Children’s Rights to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and in 1998 became the Personal Representative of the Prime Minister to the 2002 United Nations Special Session on Children.  She then coordinated Canada’s response to the Special Session entitled A Canada Fit for Children. She is currently the chair of the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights.

Landon Pearson has published two books and a number of articles on child-related issues and she continues to write about and to lecture on children’s rights, especially the rights of children in difficult circumstances.  She has received many awards, including the Canada Volunteer Award in 1990 and several honourary doctorates.  In 2005, she was one among 1000 women world wide nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on behalf of children. In July 2008 she was appointed to the Order of Canada as an Officer.


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DateMarch 7, 1999 - March 7, 2013
Fees and BookingTickets: $10 (includes a pre-event cocktail), available at the Museum Box Office. Tickets are not required for the curatorial tour of the exhibition.
LocationBarney Danson Theatre, Lobby
AudienceAdults, Veterans, Young Adults, Teens
Event TypeLecture, Talk, Meet and Greet
ProgramAdult, Lecture / Talk, Special Events, Special Exhibition Programs
Mon, Tue, Wed & Fri: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thur: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat & Sun: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0M8
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