Sona Jobarteh is no stranger to blazing trails. As the first professional female kora player in Gambia, she achieved fame and acclaim for her mastery of the 21-stringed African harp. Starting at the age of 5, she amassed great knowledge about the instrument and its musical traditions, but she typically had to pursue those studies abroad. Thinking it ludicrous that her own country didn’t have such a resource, she decided to build it on her own. The newly formed Gambia Academy aims to empower children by teaching them to embrace their culture.