Mothers of Sierra Leone

A Trip to Sierra Leone Highlights Student's Academic Experience

When Nahjiah Miller ‘24 joined the Global Social Impact Fellowship (GSIF), she had no inkling how impactful that experience would be. GSIFs are a highly self-selected cohort of undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines across Lehigh focused on addressing sustainable development challenges in low-income countries.

Miller, a journalism major, is part of a documentary team called Mothers of Sierra Leone, which is a sub-group under GSIF. “I went to Sierra Leone over the summer, where I conducted interviews, along with filming, with mothers and healthcare students and workers, to create short documentaries with my team,” she explains. “The goal is to ultimately decrease the maternal mortality rate within Sierra Leone, as it is the highest in the world. Our hope is to have mothers see these documentaries to hopefully get help from local clinics and hospitals.”

The interviews were the most rewarding part of Miller’s experience because she was able to hear stories from members of a community that she might not have otherwise heard from. “If anything, it really just cemented my goal to be the best journalist I can be. It helped me improve the ways I conduct my interviews and made me more of an efficient filmmaker.”

Currently, short episodes are being created by each member of the Mothers of Sierra Leone project team, ranging from informative docu-episodes about antenatal care, rural clinics in Sierra Leone and midwifery schools. By the end of this semester, the group hopes to have a number of episodes that will be found on their website.

Miller always knew that she wanted to pursue journalism, and when she brought up her passion to her high school advisor, she suggested Lehigh. “I never heard of the school, but I was open to the idea of going because of how well-known their journalism department is. But what really made me choose Lehigh was when I got to tour the campus, I fell in love with the school.”

Miller’s plan for the future is to get an internship that will help her further develop her journalism and photography skills. “When I graduate from Lehigh, my plan is to be a photojournalist, showcasing stories and lives of others through powerful visuals.”

To those interested in attending Lehigh University, Miller said it really is a good campus with a variety of opportunities waiting for everyone. “Even if you don't plan to major in journalism, The Brown and White welcomes everyone. Just bring your interests and passion.”