The story of Ebrima Conneh: “Man must never give up”

Katja Lihtenvalner
2 min readApr 26, 2023


Ebrima Conneh. (Photo: Katja Lihtenvalner)

Ebrima Conneh was orphaned from the age of eight, surviving the Liberian and Libyan civil wars, growing up in the poverty of the Gambian Serekunda, crossing the dangerous Sahara, kidnapped twice and escaped twice, embroiled for several years in the brutal Libyan and Italian criminal underworld, exposed to racial prejudices in the Arab and European societies. Today he is sending aid to Gambia.
His life is written like a suspenseful book, where Ebrima admits throughout the tragic events of his life, when fate could have turned very differently: “I was also lucky.”
Years ago, he was adopted as a grown man by a German couple and today he works for a large construction company. Ebrima has demonstrated to himself and the world that by broadening our perspectives, we can surmount the constraints of prejudice. Despite this, he remains grounded and level-headed: “You have to stay wise and humble. You must never flaunt the success when it happens to you.”
This is not another refugee story because Ebrima Conneh is not a refugee, but a fighter, a “lonely soldier in the jungle” as he refers to himself. He does not consider himself as an orphan, but as a man who walks with his head proudly raised.
An exceptional man in (un)exceptional times.

The story of Ebrima Conneh was originally published in Slovenian language 20th of August, 2022: Zgodba o Ebrimu Connehu: “Človek ne sme nikoli obupati” (

English version is accessible here: The story of Ebrima Conneh: “Man must never give up” | by Katja Lihtenvalner | Medium



Katja Lihtenvalner

Journalist. Greece, Western Balkans #PoliticalExtremism #HateSpeech #FakeNews Head of Research at RusaalkaFilms Monitored #GDtrial I train #MuayThai