The Healey International Relief Foundation’s (HealeyIRF) focus on the country of Sierra Leone and its people was the dynamic inspiration of the late Monsignor Daniel Sullivan. Monsignor Sullivan (Fr. Dan) met the Archbishop of Sierra Leone, Joseph Ganda at the end of the ten-year civil war that ravaged the country. A close friendship and bond brought two forces together to shine a light on a country of which few had ever heard. This very friendship was how the Healey family learned about the plight of this West African country and the brutalities committed against its people, especially women and children.
When the war officially ended in 2001, HealeyIRF was born and we set out to help rebuild the lives of those in Sierra Leone left without healthcare, food and shelter. The orphan population escalated at this time and HealeyIRF immediately began providing monetary support for the care of hundreds of orphaned children.
Fr. Dan was appointed Executive Director of HealeyIRF. He travelled around the U.S. to fundraise, telling stories about Sierra Leone in their purest and simplest form; he spoke the truth, and he gave his all, filled with heart and vehemence.
He was able to captivate audiences of all ages, enlightening and inspiring thousands to support HealeyIRF’s cause. Fr. Dan wanted people to know the story of Sierra Leone, the atrocities that occurred, and how their helping hand could be a part of bringing the country back to life.
With hard work and passion for the people of Sierra Leone, HealeyIRF was able to implement our first projects in country; St. Mary’s Home for Children, Fatima House of Light, St. Stephen’s Home for Amputees and Serabu Hospital. The early projects were driven by Fr. Dan, whose vision was to help those most in need and neglected.
Father Dan’s passing in 2013, was a tremendous loss not only to Healey IRF, but to the people in Sierra Leone. When he visited the country, everyone called him “Papa.” Fr. Dan was someone that you immediately loved and his smile and laughter could pull anyone out of the darkest of places. The children of Sierra Leone looked to him as mentor; he gave them comfort in a time when they were forgotten, and he gave them hope when they thought all was lost. Fr. Dan broke through such barriers to assure the country would one day see peace.
HealeyIRF is committed to Sierra Leone and helping fulfill Father Dan’s vision of a Sierra Leone where everyone has access to quality healthcare, vulnerable children have a safe place to live and learn and at-risk women are empowered through education.