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The Team 

Founder and C.E.O. – Faith Okrafo-Smart

Board of Trustees
Chairman of the Board of Trustees - Mr Adebanjo Oluwadare
Treasurer - Mrs Anita Sowah
Youth President - Jermaine Okrafo-Smart


Faith Okrafo-Smart Profile

Faith Okrafo-Smart is a Social Policy and Sociology graduate, a writer, a Minster of the Gospel, a mother of one and has a passion to help and impact the lives of the poor and needy in Sierra Leone and abroad.  Faith is the Founder of Melqosh Mission International, a Non-profit Organisation, birthed to provide aid to the marginalised and physically challenged, their dependants and carers. Her vision is to help women with both emotional and physical ailments; and strengthen them.
 
Her passion to work with war afflicted amputees in Sierra Leone stems from the philanthropic work of her dad with disadvantaged people she witnessed during her childhood and closely experiencing the effects of the war on her family. Although she was in the United Kingdom when the war broke in Sierra Leone, her father who was a former Member of Parliament was brutally attacked severally by the rebels and almost died as a result of the inhumane assaults.  He would have died during the war but for the timely arrival of the ECOMOG soldiers, just before the torch was put to the wheel tyre hung on her father’s neck by the rebel to burn him alive.

Faith and her family did not know whether her father was dead or alive and the anxiety of not knowing his whereabouts weighed heavily on the family for months. News came from time to time from people saying he was killed and some witnesses who had seen her family’s houses ravaged and pillaged, rebels viciously beating her father and tying him to a tree to burn him alive; the general conclusion was that he was possibly dead. There was no way to get news from relatives or friends as the civilians in Sierra Leone were in hiding or had flown to neighbouring countries as refugees.
News of his survival reached Faith’s family after months of anguish, he had been whisked to a hospital in Lungi in a comatose state by some soldiers, where he was hospitalised for several months, recovering from series of recurring heart attacks and his wounds. He was kept in hiding as he was still a prime target of the rebels. He returned back to his home after the war ended but he never recovered from the assaults of the war and died in 2004, two years after the war officially ended in Sierra Leone.

Faith recounts “My father’s death was definitely untimely; he was only 63 years old when he died after series of further heart attacks and I believe he would have lived much longer, if not for the war; he never bounced back to good health. I saw my dad during my first visit to Sierra Leone after the war and he was a shadow of the father I had last seen more than a decade ago.  The ravages of war were so evident in his face and body, I knew the war had ‘killed’ my father even though he was still alive .  I may not know what a physical amputation feels like but I remember the emotional amputation I experienced the day my dad died.” “I have pledged to help victims of the war especially the amputees and their dependants and endeavour to provide as much aid as possible to help them live meaningful lives”

UK Ambassador and Patron - Pauline Long
Pauline Long is the Founder of BEFFTA AWARDS, Europe’s biggest award ceremony which celebrates and honours black and ethnic personalities in entertainment, film, fashion, television and arts. She is also one of the Black Women in Europe Power List, the founder of Mr and Mrs East Africa UK, and owns an award winning film studio, East End Studios.

UK Ambassador & Patron – Ellen Thomas (Actress) 

Brilliant, award winning internationally well respected actor Ellen Thomas began her career in the UK 20 years ago. She has had many television roles, but is perhaps best known for her recurring role of LIZ WEBBE in the award winning Channel 4 comedy drama “TEACHERS”. She was nominated for a comedy award for her role as ADOHA in the BAFTA award winning BBC2 comedy series “REV”. She also starred in the BBC3 comedy “COMING OF AGE”. Ellen then went on to make television history when she played the role of the Nigerian matriarch MRS GRACE OLUBUNMI in one of the UK's best loved multi award winning soap operas “EASTENDERS”. Ellen’s Theatre credits include starring roles in classic plays at some of the UK’s most respected theatre companies.

UK Ambassador – Patron - Amber Ekomie
Amber Ekomie is the C.E.O of Miss Central Africa & Bloom Consultancy & PR. She is a seasoned Marketing and Media professional who works with numerous corporate, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Mr Mahmoud Sheik Kabba - Country Co-ordinator
Mr M.S. Kabba is Head of co-ordinating missions and projects. He oversees the IT Academy and Ebola Crisis Food Aid & P.P.EProgramme on the ground. He is a Peace and Conflicts graduate and holds a Masters in the same discipline.


Melqosh‘s Executives

  • Julian Taylor Morgan
  • Shelley Taylor Morgan
  • Angela Jones
  • Rugiatu Lamin Wurie
  • Femi Palmer
  • Robert Jones
  • Marcus Oba-Wright
  • Bankole Jones
  • Marian Kai Kai
  • Joy Ibgbelabo
  • Stella Igbelabo
  • Alex Pratt
  • Andrew Emonfomwan
  • Fatima Kanu
  • Simche Williams

Melqosh Mission

Melqosh means Latter Rain in Hebrew. The seed of Melqosh Mission was conceived in November 2004 and its vision is to help girls and women who had their limbs forcibly and wickedly amputated by the rebels in the course of one of Africa's bloodiest civil wars in Sierra Leone. The ten-year war ended over a decade ago but the consequences of these committed atrocities and barbarity are ever so present in the lives of plenty. The war may be over but the results of its destruction pervade the country and its victims and they need to be addressed.  The other females are those who became disabled due to birth defects or illnesses such as polio, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and paralysis attributed to accidents etc. These girls and women are rejects of society; no future, no dreams or opportunities; just barely living under the hospices of family or relatives. 

In Sierra Leone, the able-bodied women find it difficult to earn a living hence the high rate of prostitution. If life for the able-bodied women is so bleak, imagine what it is for physically challenged women. The mission is to teach and train post war afflicted amputee and physically challenged girls and women in the provinces and the most social-excluded parts of the Western Area (who have no education, training or social capital or opportunity. Because these women have had no education we will have to give them elementary education and vocational training will include Sewing, Knitting, Garment Dyeing and other arts and crafts. Life skills such as interpersonal skills, communication skills, negotiation skills, cooperation skills, team- work skills, decision-making skills, critical thinking skills, self-management skills etc. In addition to provide mentoring, counselling, and Medicare facilities for the beneficiaries, thus providing extensive help and support.


MISSIONS

 

Our organisation  provides Educational Sponsorship to children of marginalised war afflicted amputees and orphans of the deceased amputees, to enable them to gain better opportunities and lead meaningful lives (as their disadvantaged parents cannot pay their school/ college/university fees).  In addition, we have been rendering Empowerment Sessions to the amputees since 2008, to renew their mind-set, revive their self-worth and regenerate a hope for their future despite their disabilities. In the last six years, we have also been providing Medicare, clothing, crutches, food and monetary gifts to war afflicted amputees and their children, widows and orphans of deceased amputees in the provinces and seven Amputee camps in the Western Area during our annual or bi-yearly missions in Sierra Leone.

 

The charity made history in January 2014, establishing the 1st IT Academy to teach and train female war afflicted amputees and provide supplementary education to their dependants in the most social-excluded parts of the Western Area.

Melqosh extended its charitable activities in July, in a bid to help the poor and needy and   launched an Ebola Crisis Food Aid Programme, donating 60 bags of rice, 50 gallons of oil, 2,000 packs of clean water and monetary gifts to amputees, their families, orphans and widows at 10 amputee locations/camps at Grafton, Jui, Rokel, Hastings, Newton, Hastings, Waterloo 55, Waterloo Beguma Rd Amputee Camps plus 3 other amputee locations. They benefited from our Ebola Crisis Food Aid Programme mission on Thursday 18th Sept. 2014 in time for 3 days' lockdown in Sierra Leone. 

In addition, the charity executed the 3rd phase of its Ebola Mission on Wednesday 15th October 2014, distributing thousands of PPEs, Personal Protective Equipment to War Amputees. The 1st phase was executed in July, distributed anti-bacterial products to our beneficiaries. Several fundraising activities were undertaken to make our missions possible.

Christmas Ebola Mission undertaken on Monday 15th of December 2014. This

drive  included donating 2 bags of rice each to our beneficiaries, plus PPE supplies and

monetary gifts as a continuity of our annual Christmas projects in Sierra Leone. The project

included provisions for Ebola orphans in Freetown and the Provinces. 

Our #PurpledToStopEbola Campaign facilitated this drive. 

 


AIMS

The aims of Melqosh Mission are to help improve the lives of post war afflicted amputees and other physically challenged youths, women and their children in the most deprived areas of Sierra Leone.

To also educate the children of amputees and physically challenged women as they acutely marginalised and face lesser opportunities of having access to any service because the family setting they were born in.

To aid Ebola Orphans.

Provide support and information to FGM survivors. 

Identifying and sign posting potential FGM victims to NSPCC.and other agencies/authorities.

Educate young girls and females in the UK and Sierra Leone about the consequences of this harmful practice.

Provide safe and confidential focus groups for females to address this societal malaise

Working with boroughs and local community organisations, to establish a multiagency partnership and a FGM strategy. 

 

Execute Social Change Campaigns in the UK and specifically in Sierra Leone where there is a high prevalence of FGM practice.

OBJECTIVES:

The objective of the project is to establish an educational and vocational whereby post war afflicted amputees and other physically challenged youths and women will directly participate in the shaping of meaningful lives for themselves.

Encourage the development of dedicated and targeted action to enhance the opportunities for increased economic activity and entrepreneurship among physically challenged youths and women.

The relief of financial hardship among physically challenged women living in Sierra Leone by providing such persons with educational and vocational training which they could not otherwise afford through lack of means.

 To deliver free Medicare to the amputees and their families, in order to reduce the high mortality rate.

To provide a service that will be primarily devoted to the development of self-image, self-confidence, imaginative or creative minds and progression routes for the physically challenged youths, women and their children.

Help and support physically challenged and amputee youths, women and their children academically.

Help physically challenged and amputee youths, women and their children to recognise their potential and prepare them to become contributors in society and successfully face future challenges.

To inculcate in them the capability to deal with and overcome added pressure on social malaise such as stigma, institutional discrimination, deprivation, bitterness, underclass and depression etc.

The relief of unemployment for the benefit of the physically challenged and amputee women and youths in such ways as may be thought fit, including assistance to find employment or a suitable trade.

The relief of financial hardship among amputee and physically challenged women living in Sierra Leone by providing such persons with educational and vocational training, which they could not otherwise afford through lack of means.”

To promote social inclusion for the public benefit by preventing amputees and physically challenged people from becoming socially excluded, relieving the needs of these people who are socially excluded and assisting them to integrate into society. 

Provide support and information to FGM survivors. 

Identifying and sign posting potential FGM victims to NSPCC and other agencies/authorities.

Educate young girls and females in the UK and Sierra Leone about the consequences of this harmful practice.

Provide safe and confidential focus groups for females to address this societal malaise

Working with boroughs and local community organisations, to establish a multi-agency partnership and a FGM strategy. 

Execute Social Change Campaigns in the UK and specifically in Sierra Leone where there is a high prevalence of FGM practice. 


AGENDA FOR THE AMPUTEES

Melqosh Mission‘s immediate goal is to implement AGENDA FOR THE AMPUTEES – (A 4 A) tallying Sierra Leone Government’s AGENDA FOR PROSPERITY.

Melqosh Mission’s Agenda for the Amputees is to prioritise and meet two immediate needs of the amputees and that is to alleviate their health issues to reduce the high rate of amputee deaths by implementing a mobile healthcare (using vehicles stocked with medical supplies and equipment, staffed with Health Professionals); which will see to their medical needs at their various camps on a weekly basis. 

Secondly, we will continue providing an extensive educational sponsorship to the children of the amputees in the area of school fees, uniforms, books, educational materials and general welfare. We have also set up an IT school in Freetown. We aim to run an Empowerment Workshop for the educated amputees using tailor made computers specifically designed for amputees. This is to improve the chances of job opportunities for the educated amputees.

 


FORECASTING THE GROWTH OF MELQOSH MISSION 

Long term plans envisaged for the Charity are to plant three to four more academies and Medicare Unit in strategic locations where people are experiencing the acutest form of social exclusion in the area of education, opportunities, social capital and access to services. We aim to have an academy in each Province, the Northern, Southern, Eastern Provinces and in the Eastern part of the Capital, Freetown. The goal is to replicate the model Charity school. 

The third phase of this project is to open an educational facility and dormitory for homeless amputees and their families, where the beneficiaries will be housed, fed, clothed, trained with life skills and a viable vocation and then equipped to become independent individuals, thereby going into mainstream employment or trade.

The fourth is to replicate the latter to improve the lives of Ebola Orphans.

 


LOCATION OF THE SERVICE UNIT

The Head Officeand IT Academy are based in Freetown at the same locality to administer aid to the amputees and their dependents in the Western Area, in the form of  a Supplementary IT School,  an interim mobile healthcare, dispensation of educational sponsorship to children of amputees, including the children of deceased amputees, advocacy for welfare benefits from the Government and other concerned authorities on behalf of the amputees, children of  living and  deceased amputees and widows of the aforementioned.

Another service unit for the vocational school premises is in Magburaka, a town in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone; three and a half hours drive from Freetown, the capital. The goal is to decentralise opportunities and access to services as most of the facilities are in the Capital, thereby reducing the social exclusion that the provincials experience because of their locality.

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