Stars from St. Mary’s

 It began very simply. Father Peter Konteh heard a cry outside his parish door. Upon opening the door, he saw a small child wrapped in a blanket staring up into his eyes.

“I was very surprised at what I found on my doorstep,” reflected Father Peter, “but in the middle of all the horrors of the war my heart was so moved by that innocent little baby.”

Father Peter began caring for this child and over time more children were being left at the parish in Bo. After consulting with the Archdiocese of Freetown, Father Peter was given permission to build the St. Mary’s Home for Children.

“This was an evil time in our country’s history, but these brave and innocent children have overcome, and they give me such hope for the future, not only for Sierra Leone, but the world,” said Father Konteh, “They are shining brightly.”

 Established in 1999 during the civil war by Father Peter Konteh, St. Mary’s Home for Children became a haven for children left abandoned or orphaned during this brutal and deadly war. At St. Mary’s, HealeyIRF built a water well, sanitation facilities, perimeter fencing, volleyball court, and a library to support the health and welfare of the children. Father Konteh was later called to serve in Freetown and had to leave Bo, but his impact on the children is still evident today. Many of you have been supporters of these efforts since our inception and are well aware of our work in Bo. We know you will enjoy hearing where some of these children are today. For those who are recent supporters of our work to help Ebola orphans, know that we seek to ensure that these children grow to be success stories just like the children from St. Mary’s.

Mariama Jalloh

Mariama Jalloh, pictured left, is living in Freetown and recently received her diploma in Pharmacology. She is now entering the University of Sierra Leone to study towards a Bachelor in Science for Medicine. Of Father Peter she says, “He has really helped to change my life.” Her twin sister Asanatu, who was also at St. Mary’s, is studying at Freetown Teachers College.

Francis and Joseph

Francis and Joseph, who are brothers, are with Father Peter at St. Edwards Compound in Kingtom. Both are excelling in their education. Francis, pictured right, is in his first year at the Institute of Public Administration Management at the University of Sierra Leone studying Banking and Finance. Joseph is in his last year of secondary school.

Mariama Fullah

HealeyIRF Program Manager Megan Smith was delighted when she ran into Mariama Fullah during her 2017 trip to Sierra Leone. “2012 was my first trip to Sierra Leone and first time to meet the children at St. Mary’s. Mariama was seven and took hold of my hand from the moment we arrived. So happy, smiling non-stop, and introducing me to all her friends,” recalled Megan. “She shared a candy treat with me and I have never forgotten that moment. She had lost everything but still wanted to share what she had with me. Seeing her this year, there was that same smile from the same little girl who back in 2012 took my hand and my heart forever.”

Father Peter and HealeyIRF are now working together to rebuild the lives of children orphaned by Ebola. 

“Like the children nurtured at St. Mary’s,” stated Father Peter, “we will work also to develop these children to live positive lives and make the world a better place. They too will shine brightly.”

How Mosquito Nets Can Save Lives

This Thursday, April 25th, is World Malaria Day.  Malaria is one of, if not the most, commonly diagnosed and treated diseases in Sierra Leone. In fact, 4 out of 10 hospital consultations are due to malaria infection. Bed nets are crucial when it comes to efforts to #PreventMalaria. Here’s a few ways mosquito nets save lives:

Mosquitoes typically bite late at night, between 10PM and 2AM. The best way to prevent mosquito-spread diseases is to protect where you sleep.

Bed nets are the cheapest and easiest form of preventing malaria. Many affected areas are extremely impoverished and often rely on aid from non-profits like the Healey International Relief Foundation. We can provide mosquito nets at a low cost and easily distribute them. No expensive shipping, training, or medication required. Nets typically last for only a couple years, which means we can replace them easily too.

Nets protect the most vulnerable. Almost 20% of child mortality rates in Sierra Leone are caused by malaria. Not only that, pregnant women infected with malaria are especially at risk of death, miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth, and low birth weight. Sleeping under a net can help to save these lives.

Send a mosquito net to someone in need using our Amazon Charity list here:

3 Easy Ways for #TurningScarsintoStars

Giving back can be easy. We’ve put together a list of three ways you can make the world a better place with Healey International Relief Foundation with just a few mouse clicks!

1. Start a Fundraiser

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Fundraising for HealeyIRF is as easy as making a Facebook status– which is really easy. If you’ve spent any time on Facebook in the past couple of years, you might have noticed people “donating” their birthdays. You don’t have to wait until your birthday to start a Facebook fundraiser. Click here to get started.

2. Shout Us Out!

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Social media isn’t just a place to catch up with family and friends. It can be used as a powerful tool to do good. Sometimes, making a positive change in the world is as easy as liking, commenting on, or sharing a post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to spread awareness about a cause. Follow HealeyIRF using the links below and give us some love:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn

3. Give Back While You Shop

Did you know that every purchase you make on Amazon can help HealeyIRF provide healthcare, care for orphans or provide education? Go to and select the Healey International Relief Foundation as your charity. Boom! Done! Now you’re contributing 0.5% of all your purchases to #TurningScarsintoStars. Click here to go to Amazon Smile.

The work we do at the Healey International Relief Foundation wouldn’t be possible without YOU, our supporters.  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Emmanuel’s Joy

The opportunity to simply be a child is perhaps the best gift that we can give to orphaned children.

Emmanuel is one of twenty-six children at the St. Mary’s-Fatima Interim Care Center at River #2.  He’s described by his social worker, James as, “always happy when he is with others.”  James tells us that Emmanuel is always willing to entertain visitors with his silly, joyful spirit, going out of his way to make others happy.

Excitedly, Emmanuel shared when he is happiest, “I am always happy when I am in school with my friends and also when I come home to my brothers and sisters.”

In addition to enjoying his time with friends at school and family at the ICC, Emmanuel loves to participate in Sunday mass.  With lots of enthusiasm, Emmanuel can be found singing, dancing, and clapping in response to prayer.

Emmanuel’s compassion for others is not just reserved for the humans around him. He has a special fondness for animals, especially his two pet rabbits and the two new puppies Father Peter has brought to St. Mary’s-Fatima Interim Care Center.  

We hope to continue to foster the spirit of joy in Emmanuel through supporting the orphanage. To help HealeyIRF provide for Emmanuel and his brothers and sisters at St. Mary’s-Fatima ICC, click the button below to donate.



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Turning Scars into Stars: Mabinty

This is Mabinty. She’s like any other typical fourteen-year-old girl. She takes the bus to school during the week, studies, watches movies with her friends on Saturdays, and attends mass on Sundays. Her favorite food is rice jollof and she tells us she’s been eating a lot of fish recently.

What makes Mabinty’s story so significant is her triumph over hardship at such a young age. She is one of the orphans under the care of St. Mary’s-Fatima Interim Care Center, an orphanage supported by the Healey International Relief Foundation.

“I came to the home at the age of nine after I lost my father at the age of seven,” Mabinty tells us how living at the center has, “covered me with love and protection.”

“Here we have a very big hall where we study at night, watching movies on Saturdays, and celebrate Holy Mass on Sundays, also we have a very big paved space outside for outdoor games. Since we came to this place we have never experience any short of electricity because we are having a twenty-four hour solar power system put in place for us. We also have a very spacious dining room where we take all our three meals the Sisters and Uncle James monitors all our activities and guide us especially when playing.

We are presently attending one of the best schools in Freetown. This has really helped us to improve academically, and we are very grateful to Healey International Relief Foundation and Caritas Freetown for their support to us. We love the new bus which takes us to school every day and back.”

To help support Mabinty and other orphans at the St. Mary’s-Fatima ICC, click the button below:

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