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Sean Devereux

This is the story of a young man of generosity, courage and compassion. Sean spent his short life working for the poor children of Africa. Service to others is embodied in his now well-known motto:
"While my heart beats, I have to do what I think I can do, and that is to help those who are less fortunate."

Although his convictions cost him his life, his spirit lives on in the young people he worked for in Africa, and in all those who have been inspired by his life.

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Sean Deveraux was a Salesian Cooperator who had promised to live the spirit of Don Bosco in everyday life, and so accepted the challenge to help the poorest of Africa's youths. He had worked first in the West Africa republic of Liberia; then, briefly, in Sierra Leone and for the last half year of his life, in famine-stricken and turbulent Somalia. In 1993, while working for UNICEF, Sean was shot in the back by a lone gunman while he was walking near the UNICEF compound in Kismayu. He has since become an important role model for the aid-working vocation.

The UN Secretary General at the time, Dr Boutrus-Boutrus Ghali, commented:
"In adverse and often dangerous circumstances, Sean showed complete dedication to his work. His colleagues admired his energy, his courage and his compassion. Sean was an exemplary staff member, and gave his life serving others in the true spirit of the United Nations."


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