Healey International Relief Foundation’s (HealeyIRF) efforts in the country of Sierra Leone was the dynamic inspiration from the late Monsignor Daniel Sullivan (Fr. Dan) after meeting the Archbishop of Sierra Leone, Joseph Ganda at the end of the decade long civil war in this Western African country.
The war-ravaged Sierra Leone left a brutal and destructive aftermath. Fr. Dan’s friendship with Archbishop Ganda grew and together they set out on a mission to shine a light on a country that few had ever heard of. It was through this bond that the Healey family first learned about the plight of this West African country; the sufferings of its people, thousands of innocent deaths, families torn apart and infrastructure ruined.
The war ended in 2001 and HealeyIRF was founded. The goal was to help Sierra Leoneans recover from the devastating war. The orphan population had soared and HealeyIRF immediately began providing monetary support for the care of orphan children.
Our Founder, Robert Healey, Sr. knew that it would take much more than just writing checks. He put a team in place to reach those most vulnerable. Mr. Healey believed in providing a “hand up” would have a far more effective impact. He appointed Fr. Dan Executive Director of HealeyIRF and he traveled across the United States using his gift of storytelling to spread the word about this forgotten country.
Fr. Dan was able to fundraise and bring Sierra Leone to the forefront of people’s hearts and minds. Telling Sierra Leone’s story in its purest and simplest form, he was able to captivate audiences of all ages, and inspiring support of 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 passion for the people of Sierra Leone, HealeyIRF implemented its first projects in Sierra Leone: St. Mary’s Home for Children (Bo), Fatima House of Light (Freetown), St. Stephen’s Home for Amputees (Newton) and Serabu Catholic Hospital (Serabu). The early projects were driven by Fr. Dan’s vision to help those most in need and neglected.
The passing of Father Dan in 2013 was a tremendous loss not only HealeyIRF but the people in Sierra Leone. The children of Sierra Leone looked to him as a mentor; he gave them comfort in a time when they felt forgotten. He gave them hope when they thought all was lost. He was relentless for the cause; it was his calling and he set a pathway to fulfill it.
HealeyIRF continues to carry on Father Dan’s vision. His dream of “turning scars into stars” is welded into the heart of our organization.
Today, thanks to the support of our donors, international and local partners, we continue to provide for the education and welfare of children and other vulnerable populations, support charitable healthcare facilities and assist families affected by natural disasters throughout Sierra Leone.
We know Fr. Dan is smiling down on us.