Alex Fofanah

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Summary: Alex Fofana is a Sierra Leonean who has encountered poverty, neglect, and homelessness; he has struggled for survival. Growing up in the far east of Sierra Leone-Kono, Fofana had to beg for food; this eventually motivated him to found the Alex Focus Charity Organization in order to help those who are suffering from physical disability and poverty.

Profile: Alex Fofana is the founder of the Alex Focus Charity Organisation, a nonprofit organisation whose goal is to provide better living conditions for people living in Sierra Leone with special needs and physical disabilities. Since 2009, Focus has been providing food, clothing, and equipment—including wheelchairs and crutches—to those people, using his own personal funds. The organisation’s website describes its planned actions: first, building “secure permanent structures, including living quarters, a clinic, a nursery, and a vocational training centre”; second, providing “mini-buses across the country to make it easy for people with disabilities to get around and access our training centres”; and third, creating “employment opportunities for people with disabilities”.

Fofana has not been able to get much financial support from either humanitarian organisations or the government of Sierra Leone, and that has negatively affected his work. He has also struggled in amplifying the needs for policy reforms to the government because of his inability to get the attention of stakeholders. Nonetheless, he continues to undertake capital-intensive projects using his own finances. One major accomplishment: providing mobility support to over 80 people living with disabilities.

In his quest to achieve better living conditions for the underprivileged, Fofana has stood firm and has advocated strongly for appropriate policy reforms; some of this advocacy has included criticising the government. As a result, his work has sometimes been misunderstood by pro-government loyalists to be offensive; this in turn has hindered his efforts to secure governmental contributions to his charity. This has not deterred him from continuing to speak for the disadvantaged.

Currently, Fofanah is working hard to establish skills training centres for people with disabilities across Sierra Leone—places where they can enhance their skills and improve their livelihood.

Fofana is committed to achieving his long-lasting dream of securing better living conditions for the underprivileged. In his words, he intends, “to build a future where every person with a disability can live with dignity, thrive, and reach their full potential”. He’s a great example of someone who is sticking his neck out for the greater good, even when this comes with little or no financial support or moral appreciation.