Safiatou Cherif-Sonko, better known as Meme or Saffi. She is a native of Columbus, GA and a founding member of Big Dreams, Inc., graduated from William Henry Shaw High school in May of 2011; now a graduate of Columbus State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Meme has aspirations of becoming a JAG Officer in the US Navy and then completing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and work to becoming an attorney or even a psychoanalyst.
She first traveled to the Gambia at the age of 6 with her father to visit his family. Since going she fell in love with the people and the culture and has gone back to the Gambia many times with her siblings and both of her parents. As a young adult, she is now more capable of fending for herself and comprehending things better than she could have when she was younger.
While visiting the Gambia in her teen years Meme had the opportunity to branch out and reach out to other teens her age and hear their stories, most of these teenagers are passionate with such a drive for education but because of their families’ financial situations they could not attend school like other kids. Instead the only option they had was to Skip out on a normal childhood and find ways to make an income to help support themselves and their families. She encouraged them to be better people and informed them that she would be a friend and give them and extra push to succeed and reach all the goals they have desired since they were children and to never accept failure when success is free. She let them know that sometimes you have to do things that aren’t in your comfort zone because; nothing will ever grow in a comfort zone. When things get hard you continue to push forward even if you feel you aren’t being rewarded when you feel that you deserve it because your hard work will ALWAYS pay off in the end. The degree of your life directly correlates to the direction of your actions.
After seeing that, Meme was inspired to reach out and spoke with her family about starting what is now known as Big Dreams, Inc. Meme wanted to raise awareness and help the best way she could to facilitate educational sponsorships for the African children and youth. Meme believes that your purpose is greater than your problems. The more important your purpose in life the more problems get thrown your way and it is up to you to face the problems and have enough courage and will to make it out and make something of yourself and not settle for less. Meme believes that girls and boys both should be able to receive the same amount of education and be given the same opportunities for success. She stand firm in her beliefs on education because having faith in yourself is everything and she believe that one person’s faith in a child can help push them to reach their “Big Dreams.” Her famous quote is “Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings”.