Women’s Empowerment – Fatima House of Light
In Sierra Leone, women suffered from a decade long civil war that saw young girls between the ages of 6 through 18 kidnapped from their villages, brought back to the rebel camps and forced into prostitution and slavery. Heinous acts were committed against these girls and after being shunned by their families most turned to the only profession they knew to provide for themselves, prostitution.
Fatima House of Light was established and became a beacon of light in taking these girls off the street, providing them with a safe place to live, education and psychosocial support. On March 16, 2013, Fatima House of Light saw its first graduating class of 60 students. Through nursing, mechanics, secretarial and cosmetology courses, these young women can now provide for themselves.
Due to the Ebola crisis classes were suspended but plans are underway to restart classes.
Rebuilding Serabu Hospital
One of the crown jewels in the diadem of Sierra Leone was the hospital in Serabu and its nursing school. Beginning as a one room maternity clinic in the 1950’s, it thrived and became the country’s premier rural hospital, with 120 beds and patients traveling from great distances for medical care. With civil war came destruction and the hospital was not spared. Equipment was destroyed, drugs stolen and the hospital stood as a shell of its former self.
Rebuilding and restoring health services to this region was essential as Serabu is in one of the most under-developed areas – Southern District –in the country. Considered a tropical rain forest, it is rift with diseases such as malaria, typhoid, cholera, diarrhea and a multitude of fevers. Without medical care, the chance of survival is minimal.
In 2011, through partnerships with United States Agency for International Development, Maternal and Child Health Integrated Programs, private medical foundations, charitable organizations and other sources HealeyIRF refurbished and repaired Serabu Hospital and it now serves over 200 patients per month. Serabu Hospital is part of the Charity Health Network.
St. Stephen’s Home for Amputees
The horrors that happened during the civil war are a secret that today the world has yet to accept. The RUF rebels kidnapped young boys and girls between the ages of 6 to 16, took them back to their rebel camps, drugged them and forced them to serve as child soldiers and camp prostitutes.
Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of Freetown would literally stay awake at night seeing these children right outside of the Chancery entrance. He knew he had to do something.
He assigned Father Peter Konteh to round up as many of these mutilated children as possible and place them in a once abandoned building gifted to the Archdiocese and aptly named “Saint Stephen’s Home”.
HealeyIRF assisted in the development of the project, raising the necessary funds to fully run Saint Stephen’s Home in Newton. Providing medical and psychological care, St. Stephen’s offered a safe haven and sense of community to those who many times were looked on as “outcasts” or a burden on society.
HealeyIRF continues to remain involved in the St. Stephen’s Community and during the Ebola crisis in 2015 opened a medical clinic to serve the village population.
A country hard hit by a decade long civil war, Sierra Leone faced further hardship during the recent Ebola crisis that raged from May 2014 until March 2016. With over 14,000 confirmed cases of Ebola and nearly 4,000 deaths in Sierra Leone, Ebola wreaked havoc on every family and every community. HealeyIRF was one of the first on the ground bringing food and medical supplies to those in need and providing training to communities on how to fight and defeat Ebola.
With our partners Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation, Brother’s Brother Foundation and MAP International, the Healey Ebola Lifesaver Project (H.E.L.P) provided over $5.8 million in medical supplies and food relief to the people of Sierra Leone. H.E.L.P supported community engagement trainings and social mobilization workshops and trained 150 community volunteers, religious leaders of all denominations, traditional heads of villages and those prominent within the community. We reached over 200,000 in the Western Area and provided critical information on safe burial practices and proper sanitary procedures.
Saint Mary’s Home for Children
When the Sierra Leone Civil War ended in 2002, thousands of children were homeless and wandering the streets of Freetown. St. Mary’s Children’s Home was established to provide shelter, food, care, love and support to these war orphans. Starting in a rented house with six children – two girls and four boys, St. Mary’s grew to provide care for 50 children. Now self-sustaining, St. Mary’s Children’s Home remains an integral part of the community.