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Rising Heart by Amnita Conteh-Biger with Juliet Rieden

Rising Heart by Amnita Conteh-Biger with Juliet Rieden

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One woman's astonishing journey from unimaginable trauma to becoming a power for good.

In 1999, Sierra Leone was in the midst of a brutal civil war where mindless violence, vicious amputation and the rape of young enslaved women were the everyday weapons of bloody conflict.

It was also where rebel soldiers snatched the young Aminata Conteh-Biger from her father's arms, then held her captive for months.

After she was released, the UNHCR recognised that her captors still posed a serious threat to her safety. So, still in her teens, she was put on a plane and flown to Australia to start afresh as a refugee in a land she knew nothing about.

It is here that she has proudly built a life, while never allowing her trauma to define her. Yet it was a near-death experience she suffered during the birth of her child that turned her attention to the women of Sierra Leone - where they are 200 times more likely to die while having a baby than in Australia.

So she set up the Aminata Maternal Foundation, then returned to the land of her birth to help. This is her story.