Gloria Betts And Umaru Kebbay Take The Initiative To Make The Difference At Home During Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary Celebration

Freetown, Sierra Leone April, 2011 :  Sierra Leoneans around the world that came together for a historic celebration; there was so much energy in the city during the 50thIndependence celebration. It was unbelievable.  Mr. Isaiah Washington, who traced his genealogy to Sierra Leone, joined in the celebrations and presented President Ernest Koroma a signed copy of his new book, A Man from Another Land.  The Diaspora is eager and ready to give back to the country.Members and friends of The HOME Initiative were caught up in the festivities and did their part by donating care packages to the government hospitals and awarding scholarships and school supplies to university and college students.   Members and friends of The HOME Initiative were caught up in the festivities and did their part by donating care packages to the government hospitals and awarding scholarships and school supplies to university and college students.
HOME is a nonprofit organization registered in Washington, DC; its mission is to help promote healthcare and education in Sierra Leone.  We continue to accomplish this goal by providing scholarships to eligible students at the college/university level and healthcare packages to the three government hospitals in Freetown – Connaught, PCMH (Cottage) and Dr. Ola During hospitals.
Hospitals officials and patients were pleasantly surprised and grateful that their compatriots abroad took the time to visit with them amidst the celebrations.  They urge the Diaspora to continue with these types of charitable donations.  It was evident that the locals work very hard to run the government hospitals – I personally was pleasantly surprised and impressed to see that the hospitals were clean and well kept; the staff looked neat in their uniforms – their compassion and dedication was very evident.  Programs are being established to educate patients and staff. One example is May 5th is Midwives Day which serves to educate new mothers and mothers to be on the importance of healthcare for them and their babies; in turn HOME has pledged its commitment to continue its annual support to these hospitals.
HOME would like to thank all the medical staff who took time out of their very busy schedules to meet with us and give a tour of the various facilities: Dr. David Baion, Matron Joya Jones, Matron Roselyn Mommoh, Mary Massaquoi, and Matron Cecilia Sandy.  A critical concern they shared with us was sometimes the medicine donated has a “soon to expire” date and they cannot use medicine once it expires; so we are asking that the Diaspora to be cognizant of this when donating medicine.
  There were 11 recipients of HOME’s annual scholarship and school supplies this year representing the three main universities and the nursing program in Sierra Leone.  Deota Ali and Modupeh Coker 2nd and 4th year students at Sierra Leone College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS); Ibiduni Snell – Blue Shield Medical Nursing School; Ismaila Kabba and Christopher Vandy 1st year students at the Fourah Bay College Faculty of Social Science and Law; Moses McGill, Noah Sillah, Musa Massaquoi and Mark Kelley – all students at the Milton Margai College of Technology.
Bimba Idriss, a medical student in his final year at (COMAHS), was awarded a scholarship to help with his research at the Connaught Hospital in Sierra Leone about the prevalence of the Diabetic foot.  
Jatu Abdulai, a two-year recipient, graduated last year and is currently doing her internship. She shared her personal story with us and it was rewarding to see how delighted the recipients were. There was consensus among the recipients and their families present that the scholarships definitely help relieve the financial burden of paying for their education.
The brain drain continues to be of concern in the medical field and the specialists are few and far between.  The Connaught Hospital approached HOME for funding to help at the post graduate level – more to come.
Gloria Betts, Emma Fofanah, Umaru Kebbay, Breh Koroma, Saidu Jabbie (US HOME board members); Hannah Coker, Arnold Cole and James Davies (SL HOME members) and Joya Tucker, Mimi Betts, Anet Koroma, Noahleen Kebbay, Eben Tuboku Metzger (UK & US friends of HOME) were in Freetown this April.
HOME wants to extend its continued gratitude to its donors and supporters – their generosity is empowering HOME to help others and contribute to “Social Change”.  A very special thank you to our most loyal donors for 2010 – Mr. & Mrs. Ambrose Levi (MD), Mr. & Mrs. Martin Bradshaw (NC), Mr. Desmond Walcott-Taylor & Ms. Julia Hume Dawson (MD) and to our corporate sponsors Jacobs General Services and Jabs Tax & Travel.
The board members look forward to your support in 2011 – Mrs. Gemina Archer-Davies, Ms. Gloria Betts, Dr. Hazel Bowen-Wright (Matthews), Mrs. Kara Dunston, Ms. Emma Fofanah, Ms. Deanie George, Mr. Saidu Jabbie, Mr. Umaru Kebbay, Mr. Breh Koroma, Mrs. Elizabeth Toure and Ms. Monica West.

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