Sierra Leone

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Sierra Leone is a small country on the bulge of West Africa. It’s a potentially rich country, but it’s been impoverished first, by a brutal eleven-year civil war that ended in 2002—think child soldiers and Blood Diamonds. The war killed thousands of people and decimated the country's already shaky infrastructure.

As if that wasn’t enough—in 2014-15 Sierra Leone was hard hit by the Ebola epidemic that killed thousands and left many more people discouraged, apathetic and fearful. Now there is COVID.

In addition to financial resources, Sierra Leone needs a lot of inspiration, hope and guidance.

Giraffe Heroes Sierra Leone (GH-SL),an NGO launched in 2011, helps the citizens of Sierra Leone provide all three.

GH-SL uses both traditional and social media to tell Sierra Leoneans the stories of their own heroes working for peace and combating disease. These stories inspire many more people to act with courage and persistence to advance their country's future by helping solve problems such as poverty, corruption and political violence.

GH-SL is an independent, Sierra Leonean-run affiliate of Giraffe Heroes International, an American NGO started in 1982. GHI Director John Graham spent eight days in the country in May, 2011 and came away impressed not just with the enormous tasks of governance and development at hand, but also with the longing of the people he met—from political leaders in Freetown to war victims in small camps upcountry—to heal the country's wounds and restart development work.

Everywhere in Sierra Leone, billboards proclaim “Na wi country,” which is translated not just as “This is our country” but “This is OUR country.” The signs are symbols of a national pride rooted in the common good and a positive vision of the future that just might finally produce the stability and well-being that have long been promised but never delivered.

GH-SL was launched in collaboration with the B-Gifted Foundation, led by Andrew Greene, which focuses on war victims, women's issues and the environment. As the devastation of Ebola eased, GH-SL began honoring its first Giraffe Heroes in 2015 (see below).

Do you know the story of a Sierra Leonean man, woman or youth who is “sticking her or his neck out” to make a difference for their country?

If you do, contact GH-SL Director Ibrahim Kamara. His numbers are:

Tel:# 00232 - 78 - 361752; 00232 - 33 - 361752;

00232 - 77 - 361752


John Graham at war victims camp, Makeni, Sierra Leone. To compound the misery here, Makeni has been at the epicenter of the recent Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone.


A Welcome from the Director

Success Ibrahim Sei Kamara is my name and I’m the Country Director for Giraffe Heroes Sierra Leone (GHSL). Before my appointment, I worked as communications and development Officer at the B-Gifted Foundation SL and the Gondobay Manga Foundation. I hold a B.A Hons in Mass Communications from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone and a number of certificates and recognitions in the journalism field, where I’ve made active contributions on key social issues including Ebola and gender-based violence. You can find a fuller account of my background here.

The mission of GHSL is to find and tell the stories of people who “stick their necks” out to make Sierra Leone a better place and to give then tools to succeed. When we broadcast these stories over traditional and social media, other citizens are inspired to take action too. This story-telling strategy is simple—but it’s worked in every culture for thousands of years. and it works here too.

Most of the Giraffe Heroes GHSL honors are social, democratic and economic rights activists. All are standing up against injustice, backwardness, and utter violations of people’s rights. All are doing something positive for the community. You can read their stories below.

We have just started. There are many more Giraffe Heroes in Sierra Leone, working bravely to combat the effects of war, poverty, corruption and Ebola. Now their stories need to be told to the nation so they can inspire all of us to renew our hope and inspire us to step forward to help meet the severe challenges our country faces.

Help GHSL find these “silent heroes” who have contributed so much and who can inspire present and future generations through their work.

Do you know of a fellow Sierra Leonean—man or woman, young or old, from any tribal, economic, political, social, religious or professional background, who is acting bravely to help solve one of our country’s pressing problems? Those problems, well known to all of us, include poverty, poor infrastructure, mismanagement, corruption, arrant violations of democratic tenets and the mammoth challenges in almost every sphere of the country’s economy.

If you do, email the information to me at Success Ibrahim Sei Kamara ‘’ or on skype “successilicious22231”

Giraffe Heroes Sierra Leone, as all other Giraffe Heroes programs around the globe, will not take sides with any one political party or ethnic group. Rather, it will find and celebrate the work of those citizens whose lives rise above party, ethnicity and class—people whose work is dedicated to the betterment of the lives of all the people in the country, from all parties and all groups.d.

As nominations for more Giraffe Heroes are received, a broad-based bench of citizens will select which candidates fully meet the main criterion for being a Giraffe Hero—spirited action that serves the common good. Those candidates selected as Giraffe Heroes will have their stories told throughout the nation in newspapers and magazines and on the web, and over television, radio and social media. Each story will end with a call for more nominations.

As GHSL grows and more and more Sierra Leoneans learn about it, we will initiate training and mentoring programs in civic action, including a curriculum helping young people from elementary through university age gain the inspiration and skills to build lives as brave and kind-hearted citizens.

Every effort will be made to convince our country’s leaders that Giraffe Heroes Sierra Leone serves them as well as the entire country. It is in the interest of all political parties to support Giraffe Heroes Sierra Leone as a powerful means for harnessing the problem-solving ideals and efforts of every citizen.

Thanks for getting in touch!

Ibrahim Success Kamara, Director


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Update April 2024: Mohamed Lamrana Bah

Mohamed Lamrana Bah—a Giraffe hero—has recently been a subject of personal threats and attacks by members of the ruling party, the Sierra Leone people’s Party. Bah has consistently spoken truth to power and held public officials into account for years irrespective of who is in power. The recent vitriolic and personal attacks to his life and family came after he recently questioned the opportunity costs of the oversea trips of the President amounting to millions of Leones and at the expense of the public.. Bah now fears for his safety and security.

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Update April 2024: Lara Taylor Pearce

After two years of an investigation ordered by the President of Sierra Leone, no concrete evidence has yet emerged to implicate Lara Taylor Pearce. Moreover, citizens are questioning whether the investigation was truly intended to uncover wrongdoing or if it was merely a means to tarnish Pearce’s reputation and to suppress her for standing against the system. Her removal from office continues to be viewed by many Sierra Leoneans as a politically motivated act. They believe that she was fired for being professional and for exposing a cavalier mode of spending national resources by top government functionaries. So far, the President has succeeded in suppressing the annual audit report in order for his cabinet members not to be exposed to indictable offences of corruption and misappropriation of public funds.

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Update March 2024; Yvonne Aki Sawyerr

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr continues to fight for her people in Sierra Leone. One of her key goals has been to overhaul the city’s manual taxation system. As a result of her work, she has constantly been intimidated and attacked by the police and other government officials. She was accused of corruption and proved her innocence. She has been threatened because of her position against government interference. And during the recently concluded elections, she was even shot at by the Police at the office of her opposition party, APC.

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Update March 2024: Marcella Samba Sesay

Giraffe Hero Marcella Samba Sesay has continued to speak up and promote transparency and accountability within the government and democratic space in Sierra Leone regardless of the risks, since becoming a Giraffe Hero in 2019.

In 2023, Julius Maada Bio won the presidential election for the second time, despite Sesay's having predicted that he would have to face a runoff with his main opponent, Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara. It was reported that Sesay was threatened as a result of her suggesting voter fraud, and to protect herself fled Sierra Leone for the United States.

Sesay’s stance on the outcome of the elections was supported by the European Union and by the Carter Center in the United Sates, which published reports questioning the outcome of the elections.

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Update March 2024: Nicholas Browne Marke

Justice Nicholas Browne Marke has been recently appointed to serve as Acting Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone. His appointment was based on his continued ability to dispense justice without fear of favour and to always maintain fairness. The appointment was greeted with public endorsement because of his reputation and his commitment to do what is just, all of which emboldens his identity as a Giraffe Hero.

Recently, Justice Browne Marke has been assigning or transferring judges to districts based on their competence, performance, and integrity. His actions have been seen by many as one of the contributing factors toward effective justice delivery in Sierra Leone. He also sits as the Chairman of the General Legal Council, the highest decision body responsible for legal service in the country. He continues to advocate for the less privileged to benefit from effective legal education.


Update December 2023: Augustine Marrah

After becoming a Giraffe Hero in 2021 and been found guilty of criminal contempt after challenging a ruling by the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone on October 26, 2021, Marrah has not given up on his journey to speak up against the Government of Sierra Leone and other State institutions...

In his papers filed in court, Marrah argues that theElectoral Commission of Sierra Leone( ECSL) lacks legal basis or justification to restrict citizens’ access to polling station results, which he believes are fundamental to the electoral outcome announced by the ECSL. His argument has been supported by numerous national and international bodies, including the Carter Centre in the United States, the EU Observer Mission for Sierra Leone, the US Embassy, and the National Elections Watch, all of which have encouraged the ECSL to provide transparency by releasing the disaggregated data, allowing citizens to verify the election results. See the full update here


Update December 2023: Andrew Lavali:

In December 2022, as part of his continuous efforts to fight for the democratic and economic freedoms of Sierra Leoneans, Lavali launched a report on issues of land management in Sierra Leone, citing various challenges to land acquisition and the effect on the livelihoods of residents during the process. The report—“The Freetown Disasters: Rethinking Sierra Leone’s Approach to Land Reform”—focuses on the Freetown land market, the political economy affecting land and housing reform, climate change, and natural disasters. As a result of this report, he was accused of being a stooge in the hands of the ruling government. In 2023, leading up to the national elections, Lavali came under serious attack from some writers within the local print media; they accused him of using phony surveys to curry favour from the central government.Read the full update here.


Update December 2023: Thomas Dixon:

Thomas Dixon is a Giraffe Hero, a Sierra Leonean investigative journalist, the Managing Editor at New Age Newspaper, and an editor with Salone Times Newspaper. On February 10, 2023, he almost lost his life. Dixon:

“I could have been killed by two police officers who were chasing a bike that was carrying me around Guy Street at Krootown Road. Sustained serious injuries.”

The attack was presumed to be a result of Dixon’s journalism. He had been examining a series of fraud and graft cases involving several mining companies as well as public and private members of society with ties to top political officials. His work often doesn’t sit well with these people.

In November 2023, Thomas continued to call out the President of Sierra Leone for what he refers to as irrelevant appointments at State House, which he believes is increasing government expenditures and putting pressure on meagre state resources. For full update, see here.

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UPDATE May 2023 Joseph Kaifala

Joseph Kaifala (Sierra Leone) has received the inaugural Projects for Peace Alumni Award. The newly created award is given in support of the ongoing peace-building efforts of a past Projects for Peace recipient who demonstrates innovation and persistence in working for peace and transforming conflict. Joseph received a Projects for Peace Award in 2007 when he was a student at Skidmore College which he used to build a library in Sierra Leone. He is the Founder and Principal of the Center for Memory and Reparations - facilitating remembrance and collective narratives around the Sierra Leonean civil war.

A major aspect of his work is identifying, mapping and protecting mass graves left by the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone between 1991-2002. Kaifala survived both the Liberian and Sierra Leonean civil wars and spent a few years as a refugee in Guinea. His Center grants communities where mass graves exist the opportunity to offer traditional burial rites for those they lost in the war. The Center also teaches civil war history to school children and has been advocating for the Government of Sierra Leone to declare National Reconciliation Day as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Follow this link for the announcement and learn more about the Projects for Peace Alumni Award

Read more about Joseph Kaifala and his work here

And here

Giraffe Heroes in Sierra Leone


Oswald Hanciles

Oswald Hanciles is an environmentalist and journalist, renowned for environmental advocacy and media outreach. For over three decades in Sierra Leone and throughout Africa he has raised awareness on sensitive issues, including the debilitating impact of climate change. He has been continually rebuked by government officials, corporate leaders and others, but he continues his crusade. More

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Manty Sulma Marah

Manty Sulma Marah founded a nonprofit organization in Sierra Leone that empowers women and girls with entrepreneurship skills, helping cultivate a community of resilient and ambitious women capable of fulfilling their dreams. She faces financial difficulty in promoting and expanding her work as well as political opposition from those who don’t understand the hardships that women and girls face in Sierra Leone. More


Gertrude Gbessay Karimu

Gertrude Gbessay Karimu is the National Coordinator for the Women’s Network for Environmental Sustainability (WONES), an organisation that promotes the welfare of women and girls in Sierra Leone. She encounters continual opposition from male political leaders, but she is determined to empower women and girls, particularly in regard to environmental and land issues. More


Ahmed Sahid Nasralla

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, popularly known by his pen name “De Monk”, is an award-winning journalist and cartoonist who has worked in Sierra Leone print media for nearly 15 years. He is also the current President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ). Nasralla has experienced not only poverty—his family house destroyed in a storm—but also arrests and prosecution for his work. More


Sallieu Tejan Jalloh

Sallieu Tejan Jalloh is an investigative journalist and publisher for Sierra Leone’s Times newspaper. He has faced many hurdles and continually fears for his safety after exposing ritual murders, corruption, and many other wrongful acts in Sierra Leone. Threats notwithstanding, he strongly believes that he should bring these issues to the attention of the public. More


Newman Anthony Levey

Newman Anthony Levey is a local journalist based in Bo, southern Sierra Leone. He has reported on issues of alleged ritual killings, corruption, and human rights abuses in Sierra Leone. Levey is a fearless reporter who succeeds despite the challenges; he has been threatened and verbally attacked, but he continues to risk his physical, financial, and emotional well-being to speak up. More


Zainab Turay

Zainab Turay is the Founder of Mabel’s Cottage Foundation in Sierra Leone, which aims to improve the position of vulnerable, single, pregnant teenagers and their children by providing them with services and helping them build a future where they can become financially independent. Turay has financial challenges and has been verbally abused and threatened by men that have impregnated the girls she works with; many of those men fear being prosecuted. More

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Zainab Tunkara Clarkson

Zainab Tunkara Clarkson is a transformative figure in Sierra Leone, and she continues to champion the rights of the vulnerable and to challenge systemic injustice. Clarkson advocates in ways that can improve public engagement for good governance. She is a strong critic of regimes in Sierra Leone that have not worked in the interest of Sierra Leoneans so she continually faces social media mudslinging and other attacks. More

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Alex Fofanah

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. More

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Mohamed S. Bah

Mohamed S. Bah is the founder and Executive Director of Healthcare for the Aged, a charitable organisation that looks after homeless, aged Sierra Leoneans who are suffering from visual impairment or life-threatening diseases with little or no support from any source, be it government or private individuals or groups. Bah risks his physical, financial and emotional life to care for the elderly. More


Mohamed Lyrics Bangura

Mohamed Lyrics Bangura is a journalist, sports broadcaster, and activist from Sierra Leone who has been vocal in exposing sports corruption and land grabbing in the Western Area of Sierra Leone. Despite being arrested multiple times by the police and threatened with prosecution, Bangura has remained firm and resolute; his efforts have resulted in helping victimized communities understand the technicalities involved in acquiring land. More


Musa Ansumana Soko

Musa Ansumana Soko has devoted his life to managing programs that seek to address the issues of social accountability, post-conflict peacebuilding, education, health, and most importantly, access to improved drinking water and sanitation services. He founded and manages the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Network of Sierra Leone (WASH-NETSL). He has faced threats and attacks, including an inferno that engulfed his home in 2023. More

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Ansumana Keita

Ansumana Keita is a young Sierra Leonean who has devoted his life to promoting patriotism, peace, and positive social change, particularly among young people. He has founded and leads several organizations toward that end, and he constantly travels the country to provide information, mentoring, and encouragement to the underprivileged. During his travels he has endured accidents and contracted diseases, but he continues on. More


Elizabeth Kaima

Elizabeth Kaima is a Sierra Leonean survivor of sexual- and gender-based violence, a social worker, and an activist working for the rights of children and women. She is the CEO and Executive Director of Wonders of Salone, a nonprofit dedicated to advocacy of those rights. She persists in her advocacy despite threats and a traditional tolerance of such violence. More


Phebean Swill

Despite being fired from the Entertainment Board and physically attacked over the years, Sierra Leonean broadcaster and journalist Phebean Swill has continued her fight for citizens’ rights, freedom of expression, and journalistic integrity. Her current battle is against the increase in the price of petroleum products and the right to report freely on Sierra Leone’s June 2023 elections. More


Ariana Oluwole

Ariana Oluwole used her own savings to start Narnia Day Care, one of Sierra Leone’s first day care facilities for children, focusing on high-quality early child-care education. Oluwole’s financial challenges are significant, but she’s determined to bring positive change to her community. More

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Ibrahim Alimammy Kamara

Ibrahim Alimammy Kamara, once forced to be a child soldier, has devoted his adult life to helping kids lead safe, healthy lives, no matter how much of his time and limited resources that demands. He uses his own scant resources to help alleviate poverty, shelter people from constant flooding, and provide education, mentoring, food, and supplies. More


Veronica Martha Fannah

Veronica Fannah grew up poor in rural Moyamba, Sierra Leone. . Now she is facing down centuries of tradition to educate girls in Sierra Leone about menstruation, to have products to deal with their periods, and to not be subjected to female genital mutilation. Fannah persists despite opposition, and even attacks, from those who want to maintain customs that subjugate girls and women. More

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Nicholas Browne-Marke

Nicholas Browne-Marke is a fearless, dedicated, and politically non-aligned Justice of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone. He has been subject to many threats while addressing politically sensitive cases and rendering unbiased judgments. He has also been a strong advocate for human rights. More

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Margaret Cassell

Margaret Cassell lives with sickle cell anemia, a genetic blood disorder that affects about 2% of Sierra Leoneans. She is a strong activist for protection and treatment of the disease. She’s been discriminated against because of her condition as well as her advocacy; nonetheless, she continues to reach out to millions in her home country. More


Anita Koroma

Anita Koroma is an activist, trainer, mentor, and inspirational speaker, focusing on the rights of girls. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Girl Child Network Sierra Leone (GCN-SL), an offshoot of Girl Child Network Worldwide. Despite the challenges of little funding, lack of government support, and harassment from various communities, Koroma has had positive impacts on girls and women in Sierra Leone and elsewhere. More

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Mohamed Kelfala Sesay

Regardless of threats and risks of violence, Mohamed Kelfala Sesay has fought for citizens’ rights, freedom of expression, and unfettered media. An albino, Sesay has been discriminated against throughout his life, including being threatened by residents of a local community for carrying out his work as a local journalist. His current fight is for the right to report freely on the welfare and well-being of persons living with albinism. More

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Tina Davies

Tina Davies is a Women’s Reproductive Health Specialist Nurse and an advocate for women’s medical services—particularly services focusing on cancers—in Sierra Leone. She has fought sexism and lack of funding to provide not only medical care but also awareness and funding for causes that affect women. More

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Femi Claudius Cole

Femi Claudius Cole has been an advocate for the poor and the ill in Sierra Leone. A nurse for over 20 years, she has protested against social injustice, an unfair economy, and ineffective governance. She is the only woman who has run for president in Sierra Leone, and she has been detained many times by police for her public views on the government’s role in continuing what she sees as its policies of oppression oppression. More

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Seibatu Kemoh Allieu

Seibatu Kemoh Allieu is a surgical community health officer in Sierra Leone. Early on, she was frustrated with maternal deaths arising from obstetric complications that could have been prevented with better resources, improved knowledge, and more skills. Despite Ebola and now COVID—and despite the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry—Allieu got the surgical training she needed and continues to save the lives and improve the health of her fellow Sierra Leoneans. More

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Thomas Moore Conteh

As a civil society and human rights advocate, Thomas Moore Conteh has been arrested, detained, and jailed by the Sierra Leone police for leading peaceful protests on education, police brutality, and non-payment of pensioners. Despite the arrests and threats, he continues to work with various organizations to represent disadvantaged and oppressed Sierra Leoneans. More

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Sahr Kendema

Sahr Kendema is a Sierra Leone activist who has for years led efforts toward poverty alleviation, good governance, security, nonviolence, social cohesion, and the end of money laundering. From his first days as a student activist at the University of Sierra Leone, Kendema has been maligned and attacked, but he persists in his activism. More

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Jeremy Ben-Simbo

Jeremy Ben-Simbo campaigns to force the government to honor and implement the promises of civil rights and good government enshrined in the country’s Constitution and in manifestos issued by successive governments. He has braved many threats to his safety in order to call out government officials for their lack of support for these rights, and travels the country to urge citizens to become familiar with them. .More

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Sarian Karim Kamara

Sarian Karim Kamara is an activist for women’s rights who works very closely with communities to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Sierra Leone and in her current home in the United Kingdom. In 2017, she founded Keep the Drums Lose the Knife (KDLK) to help coordinate efforts to address FGM in Sierra Leone, the UK, and elsewhere. Over the last few years, despite attacks, Kamara has educated hundreds of women on their rights. More

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Diaka Salena Koroma

Diaka Salena Koroma is a women’s and girls’ rights activist in Sierra Leone, fighting particularly against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). In 2016 she opened the Girlz Empowered-Sierra Leone to empower less-privileged women and young girls, mentoring them on gender-based violence as well as sexual and reproductive health issues. As a result of her work, Koroma has been physically attacked and beaten, threatened by FGM traditionalists, and deprived of funding. More

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Momoh-Jah Stevens

Justice Momoh-Jah Stevens has been a foe of gender-based violence and a diehard supporter of human rights, justice, and democracy for decades. Even in the midst of intense politicization in Sierra Leone’s justice system, and even after threats to his life, Stevens continues to fight for the rule of law. He has risen in the judicial ranks from Magistrate to High Court Judge to Justice of the Appeals Court. More


Mahmud Tim Kargbo

Mahmud Tim Kargbo is a freelance reporter in Sierra Leone who has been interrogated, arrested, and detained over a dozen times in connection with his work. His fearless reporting has exposed many injustices and corrupt practices in Sierra Leone. His efforts have also resulted in the repeal of the Criminal Libel law that had persecuted independent journalists like himself. More

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Roseline Mansaray

Roseline Mansaray is a young climate and environmental activist in Sierra Leone who mobilizes young people to fight for action on climate change. In 2020 Mansaray founded Fridays for Future Sierra Leone, whose goal is to raise attention to the crisis and influence policies that counter it. Despite on-line harassment, scarce resources, and reluctance of the government to act, Mansaray vows to continue campaigning. More


Mohamed Kamara

Mohamed Kamara, a citizen activist, continually fights for the rights of people in Sierra Leone, even though his efforts have made him many enemies. He has publicly charged government officials of corruption and called on Sierra Leone’s present government to institute policies that would eliminate it. Kamara campaigns vigorously against alcoholism and drug abuse, particularly as they impact young people. For his efforts, he has been criticized and even imprisoned. More.

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Samuel Haffner

In 1992, Sierra Leone journalist Sammy Haffner was captured and jailed for a month during a government coup. Undaunted, upon his release, he helped form a huge network of radio stations in Southern Sierra Leone, exposing false news, campaigning for free speech, and standing up for his fellow journalists. Haffner has received nine death threats and even once had to escape to neighboring Guinea after a second military coup.. More

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Adama Sillah

Adama Sillah is a pioneering woman journalist in Sierra Leone. She is also Executive Director of Media Initiative for Women and Girls Empowerment, an organization she founded to foster the empowerment of women through journalism, to encourage community discussions of issues that affect women directly, and to make positive changes in a traditionally male-dominated society. She has faced many verbal and physical risks along the way. More

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Asmaa James

Asmaa James is a Sierra Leonean journalist and a presenter for “Gud Mornin Salone”, the most popular radio program in Sierra Leone. She promotes women’s rights and battles against rape and other forms of sexual violence. James founded the Asmaa James Foundation, providing support to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds by giving them access to reproductive health education, scholarships, mentoring, and training in life skills. More


Victoria Renner

Victoria Renner is a Sierra Leonean activist who champions the rights of vulnerable women to live successful lives free from fear, intimidation, and poverty. As a result of her advocacy, Renner has been attacked, threatened by knife-wielding traditional leaders, evicted from her work place, and seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver who tried to kill her. More


Aminata Kamara

Aminata Kamara designs and facilitates programmes for girls and young women in Sierra Leone. In 2018, while working for the activist organization, Purposeful, Kamara was part of the team who stood against a government decision banning pregnant girls from attending school. She was verbally attacked by government officials, religious bodies, and the general public, but she never stopped her activism, and the ban was eventually lifted in 2020. More


Chernoh Alpha M Bah

Chernoh Alpha M Bah has fought for the rights of the oppressed in Sierra Leone and elsewhere ever since he was a teenager. He has exposed corruption,, founded and led organizations that publicize wrongdoing, and written books and given speeches about government misfeasance. He's been arrested, jailed, exiled, and threatened with lawsuits even as he lives in the United States. Nonetheless, he continues. More


Haja Marie Bob Kandeh

Starting out as a vendor at a Freetown street market, Haja Marie Bob Kandeh soon became Secretary of the Market Committee, helping women negotiate both business and family issues. She co-founded the Sierra Leone Market Women Association and since then has become a champion for women’s rights. Because of her activism against forced marriages and domestic violence, Kandeh continually risks being attacked by men who oppose such views. More


Neneh Rugiatu Turay Koroma

Neneh Rugiatu Turay Koroma is a Sierra Leonean women’s rights activist who speaks out against female genital mutilation (FGM). She is the founder of the Amazonian Initiative Movement, an organization that fights FGM as well as addressing issues such as rape, child marriage, and teenage pregnancy. Despite harassment from the government and numerous death threats, Koroma continues supporting the education and empowerment of women. More

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Nicky Spencer-Coker

Gender activist Nicky Spencer-Coker fights for the rights of women and girls in Sierra Leone. Spencer-Coker, a practicing barrister and solicitor of the High Court of Sierra Leone, currently serves as General Secretary of the General Legal Council, responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in Sierra Leone. Spencer-Coker faces many challenges but she persists in pushing for the education and justice of marginalized people in her community. More

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Marian Pleasant Kargbo

Marian Pleasant Kargbo is a young Sierra Leonean who founded the Pleasant Children’s Foundation, focusing on providing education and resources for children, especially vulnerable children whose parents cannot send them to school due to financial constraints and children who have been sexually abused, forced into early marriage or raped. Despite the hostility greeting some of her stances, Kargbo resolves to strengthen young people, particularly girls.. More

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Lara Taylor-Pearce

Lara Taylor-Pearce is the current Auditor General of Sierra Leone and has more than 29 years of experience in public and private financial and administrative management. She has won many awards for helping change Sierra Leone’s public-sector accountability landscape, and she has battled government officials who have attacked her for telling the truth about various audits over the years. More


Miatta Maria Samba

Justice Miatta Maria Samba is a judge of the Court of Appeal in Sierra Leone. She is a strong crusader for human rights and gender equality, and an equally strong crusader against corruption. Because of her efforts, Samba has faced many threats, but has never allowed any extraneous factors to influence her judgment. In 2020, she was nominated by Sierra Leone to be a judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC) for 2021-2030. More

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Reginald Cole

Reginald Cole is a young Sierra Leonean doctor and a Major in the Sierra Leone Armed Forces. Despite constantly risking his life in the face of infectious diseases and the poor health conditions of his country, he has continued to contribute to the health of his fellow citizens and set an example for his fellow doctors. More

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Melrose Hawa Kamara

Sierra Leonean Melrose Hawa Kamara has been disabled since the age of five. Decades ago, she founded the Grafton Orphanage to take care of children who are similarly disabled. She earns a meager income from petty trading and constantly seeks financial support. She is challenged, however, by political and cultural biases against the disabled. Hawa Kamara was also physically threatened when she attempted to acquire land for a school serving the disabled. More

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Jalahan Amara Jakima

Jalahan Amara Jakima, from Kenema, Sierra Leone, is an anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) activist helping those forcefully mutilated gain access to counseling, medication, and education. Jakima has been threatened for demanding that the practice must stop and, along with her sisters, was forcefully mutilated herself because of her advocacy. But the incidence of FGM in Sierra Leone has been cut in half and a new law now calls for consent. More

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Hannah Yambasu

Hannah Yambasu has helped thousands of Sierra Leonean women in need—women who are victims of violence and other forms of abuse, women who are underprivileged, and women who need counseling, education, access to the courts, or escape from childhood marriages. Through her organization, Women Against Violence and Exploitation Society (WAVES), Yambasu is there for them. More


Nellie Bell

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone, Dr. Nellie Bell worked tirelessly as the head of Ola During Children's Hospital in Freetown. On April 2, 2020, Dr. Bell tested positive for the virus. She's now recovered and is back on the front lines. Her boldness in isolating herself when she got infected and her clarion call for others to take required precautions saved lives, and her continuing efforts will save even more. More

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Rashid Dumbuya

Attorney Rashid Dumbuya works tirelessly on public interest litigations, including corruption and accountability issues; women’s, juveniles’, and prisoners’ rights; and press freedoms. Now he’s pushing his government to improve its responses to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of his outspoken advocacies, Dumbuya lost his job at the country’s Human Rights Commission and he’s suffered invective and death threats on social media. More

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Joseph Ben Kaifala

Joseph Ben Kaifala is an author, lawyer, human rights activist, and founder of the Jeneba Project, providing quality education for underprivileged girls in Sierra Leone and neighboring countries. Kaifala suffers physical threats and financial challenges as a result of his advocacy. Many governments and individuals do not recognize the worth of females, and Kaifala struggles to make positive changes. More


Solomon Bangura

:Solomon Bangura is a young Sierra Leonean activist against violence, focusing on schools, gangs, and the dangers toward girls. Because of his advocacy, he has been threatened numerous times, especially by gangs. But he continues lobbying gangs, fostering school campaigns, speaking on the radio and before groups, and writing. More


Augustine Marrah

Augustine Marrah is a dedicated activist lawyer, a leading advocate for human rights and democracy, and a persistent campaigner for the rule of law. Intimidation, threats, and public shaming have not deterred him from defending and speaking up for his people. He provides free counsel for activists and consistently writes about issues affecting all Sierra Leoneans, but especially the poor. More


Murtala Kamara

Murtala Kamara is a journalist, entrepreneur and rights activist. He founded Salone Jamboree in 2009, the first Sierra Leone-owned online newspaper showcasing Sierra Leonean arts, entertainment, and social justice. Despite death threats, Kamara leads efforts toward social cohesion, fighting poverty and corruption, and rehabilitating women in prison. More

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Fatmata Hanciles

Fatmata Claire Carlton Hanciles is a female Sierra Leonean Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of Sierra Leone. Since her call to the Bar in 1998, Hanciles has devoted her career to promoting women’s rights, seeking justice for victims of the war in Sierra Leone and ensuring that the poor and marginalized can access justice. It has not been without risks. More

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Michael Sambola

Michael Sambola is a Sierra Leonean investigative journalist and media personality whose fearless reporting exposes corrupt practices in Sierra Leone—work that has had a huge impact in the country. Sambola epitomizes objective and credible journalism, and represents the true voice of the voiceless. More

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Yasmin Sheriff

Yasmin Jusu Sheriff is a Sierra Leonean human rights activist, barrister, women’s rights campaigner and a radical feminist. She is one of Sierra Leone’s veteran women and children’s rights crusaders who has stuck her neck out for humanity over a period of 30 years. Her work has provided immense support to the recognition of women voices as a key part of the democratization process in Sierra Leone. More

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Basita Michael

Sierra Leone attorney Basita Michael has continually challenged the government on grounds of unconstitutionality, violations of democracy and breaches of the rule of law. She has been insulted, harassed, and threatened by the male-dominated government, but she continues to speak out . More


Andrew Lavali

Andrew Lavali founded the Institute of Governance Reform (IGR) in Sierra Leone which monitors governmental actions and challenges policies and procedures that deny citizens their rights. Lavali has encountered much harassment for his efforts, but he and the IGR continue to expose corruption and advocate for positive change. More

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Joseph Sannoh

Joseph Sannoh has long advocated for students’ rights, including access to quality education, enhancing learning conditions, and campaigning for the reduction of tuition fees. Some of Sannoh’s crusades have exposed government corruption in the education sector, and as a result he has been threatened, physically assaulted, and evicted from his home. More


Robinson Sesay

Robinson Sesay gave up a lucrative career in the U.S. to return to his poverty-stricken home town in Sierra Leone to empower young people to become responsible citizens. He’s been insulted, threatened, and attacked. Nonetheless, he’s helped hundreds of young people make a difference in their communities. More


Mabel Kabba

Mabel Kabba is a young, hardworking, vibrant Sierra Leonean radio journalist, who has worked her way up in an industry biased against women. She’s challenged politicians who have withheld information from her and tried to cajole or harass her.. She speaks out on behalf of poor communities and risked her life interviewing people during the Ebola crisis. More

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Victor Koroma

Victor Lansana Koroma is the founder and Executive Director of Health Alert-Sierra Leone, an organization committed to helping citizens—especially women and children—obtain access to free health care products and services. Some of Koroma’s campaigns have challenged the government, and as a result, he’s been verbally attacked and received death threats. More

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Marcella Samba Sesay

Despite threats and assaults over 20 years, Marcella Samba Sesay continues to be a forceful voice for justice and equality for Sierra Leone’s citizens, in particular its poor and female citizens. Sesay has formed coalitions and given her own time and money to ensure that Sierra Leone’s government treats its citizens with respect and gives them the services they need. More

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Joe Pemagbi

Joe Pemagbi has been a fighter for social justice since 2001. As Sierra Leone Country Officer for the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) he’s courageously taken up public interest campaigns, insisting on access to information, justice, and respect for human rights. His demands are not something many corrupt leaders appreciate. More


Edmond Abu, Jr.

Outspoken and bold, Sierra Leonean economic justice activist Edmond Abu, Jr., “speaks truth to power,” panning government political and petroleum products abuses and supporting human rights. For his efforts he’s been labeled a “security threat” and forcefully arrested by the government of Sierra Leone for demanding a decrease in fuel prices across the country. More


Mohamed Osman Kamara

Mohamed Osman Kamara, an albino living in Sierra Leone, fights to free albinos from discrimination and exclusion. His organization also teaches people about albinism and provides prevention and treatment to albinos threatened with skin cancer. Kamara has faced constant antagonism from those who see albinos as cursed, who do not believe in helping them, and in fact who do everything they can to isolate and threaten them. More


Fatou Taqi Nee Cole

Fatou Taqi Nee Cole fights for women’s rights in Sierra Leone. Despite intimidation from both the government and individuals, she advocates for female representation in government, for the prevention of gender-based violence, for the abolition of forced early marriages, and for women’s participation and leadership in communities. More


Hawa Sally Samai

Hawa Sally Samai is the founder and CEO of Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet), an NGO in Sierra Leone that promotes children’s and women’s issues, particularly the banning of female genital mutilation. Death threats, political opposition, and the consequences of challenging long-held traditions have not stopped her. More

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Pa Momo Fofanah

Pa Momo Fofanah has spent decades defending the rights of Sierra Leone citizens, particularly children—and particularly children who in the past were forced into the military; because of his efforts, the recruitment of child soldiers was eventually considered a war crime. He's been threatened with injury and death many times . More.


Francis Ben Kaifala

Lawyer Francis Ben Kaifala has been threatened, intimidated, and otherwise verbally attacked—all for demanding that the government of Sierra Leone respect human rights and the rule of law. Since he was appointed to head Sierra Leone’s “Anti-Graft Agency” in June 2018, however, Sierra Leone has dramatically reduced the incidence of corruption. More

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Thomas Bobby Smith

Summary: Thomas Bobby Smith gave up his nice life and marriage in the US to return home to Sierra Leone to start a nonprofit that provides hope, opportunity, sustainability and education for young people in Sierra Leone suffering from poverty and hunger in the wake of a brutal civil war and Ebola outbreak. More


Justina Conteh

Justina Conteh leads an NGO that provides care and assistance to children—mostly girls—who are homeless because of, e.g., disease, sexual abuse, or abandonment. SGF provides these children with counseling, medical and legal assistance, education, and a safe place to live. Conteh is continually sexually harassed herself and has to fight traditional norms that oppress females. More


William Sao Lamin

William Sao Lamin has consistently fought corruption and ignorance in Sierra Leone. His major effort has been to force implementation of the country’s Constitution and specifically the anti-corruption recommendations of Auditor General reports.For that he's been attacked and harassed. More


Ngolo Katta

Youth in Sierra Leone have often been used as an instrument of violence by politicians during elections. Many young people have been killed, and the police have done little to stop the incidents. Ngolo Katta fights to end this practice. He's been threatened with arrest but is determined to effect change in the upcoming 2018 elections. More


Siaka Sama

Siaka Sama is a strong voice for farmers in southern Sierra Leone who for decades have been fighting the appropriation of their lands without adequate compensation by corporations eager to make a buck from lucrative export crops. When Sama and others protest, they are typically arrested and thrown in jail. See updated story: : More

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Amidu Lamranah Bah

Amadu Lamranah Bah is a young Sierra Leonean journalist who fights for freedom of the media and speaks up for his countrymen by exposing corruption wherever he finds it. For his efforts, he’s been attacked by unknown assailants and threatened and harassed by government officials. More


Emmerson Bockarie

Emmerson Amidu Bockarie is a Sierra Leonean Afropop singer and songwriter who has become well known in his country for lyrics that promote social change and criticize government corruption. Bockarie has been intimidated in many ways, but continues to be one of Sierra Leone’s most effective agents for change. More


Princetta Williams

Journalist Princetta Williams has reported firsthand on issues ranging from the Ebola virus, to mudslide disasters to sensitive political issues that have brought her threats and harassment . She continues to provide a platform of accurate and unbiased information. More


Valnora Edwin

For years, Valnora Edwin has tackled issues in Sierra Leone such as gender rights, children’s rights, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, mining, and elections. Opponents have threatened her life numerous times. but she continues to represent citizens, now as a member of Sierra Leone’s Civil Registration Authority. More


Amanata Massaquoi

Amanita Massaquoi is a radio broadcaster who tells the truth no matter who stands in her way. She’s risked her life reporting on violent elections in Liberia and on the Ebola disease in Sierra Leone. She’s been arrested and threatened. And she keeps going. More

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Ibrahim Kawa

Ibrahim Kabineh Kawa vigorously campaigns for the rights and welfare of the Masorian people in southern Sierra Leone. He has faced raging rivers, the Ebola virus and an uncooperative government to provide them with support, advocating for them regardless of the obstacles. More

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Theophilus Gbenda

Theophilus Gbenda is a radio journalist in Sierra Leone who is continually harassed and threatened for his dedication to representing his people, regardless of the political elite’s responses to his challenges. He remains a trusted source of information and advocacy in the country. More


Martha Kargbo

Martha Kargbo is a young Sierra Leonean journalist who defends freedom of the media and fearlessly calls on the government of Sierra Leone to meet the demands of its citizens. She risked her life reporting on the Ebola epidemic. More .


Yvonne Aki-Sawyer

During and after the vicious, decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr for years has helped former child soldiers, displaced women and children rebuild their lives. Then she joined the fight against Ebola. More


Sorious Samura

Sorious Samura, a Sierra Leonean journalist, risked his life to film on the front lines during his country’s long and brutal civil war. His self-funded “Cry Freetown” depicts the most brutal period of that war when Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels attacked the capital city in January 1999. More

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Thomas Dixon

Journalist Thomas Dixon challenges corruption, abuses of power, and neglect of the poor by the powers-that-be. A radio and TV analyst, he fights for a free press and citizen access to information. His fearless efforts draw fire from both members of the public and government officials. More

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Hannah Foullah

Hannah Foullah is a Sierra Leonean broadcaster whose sacrifice for her country has put her in harm’s way countless times. Nevertheless, she's never given up taking risks to benefit her fellow citizens, including broadcasting accurate bulletins from a “pirate” radio station during Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war. More

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Emmanuel Abdulai

Emmanuel Saffa Abulai is an attorney, a newspaper publisher, and an activist. Despite personal and professional attacks from the government and some individuals, he continues to represent besieged clients, push for laws that are more just, and advocate for policies that protect disadvantaged citizens. More


Gibril Gottor

Gibril Gottor is a Sierra Leone journalist who has continually suffered slander, threats, and arrests, as well as assaults so brutal that he has had to be hospitalized at least twice. Gottor contributes reports on the radio and in print, focusing on government corruption and military malfeasance. More


Mama Jalloh

Mamaja Jalloh (aka DJ Base) is a popular radio disc jockey in Sierra Leone who’s worked for years to make people aware of core issues, from protecting women from sexual assault to the misappropriation of government funds. For this, he’s been threatened, harassed, and beaten up by police. More

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Abdul Fatorma

Abdul Fatorma is a Sierra Leone human rights activist who challenges the financial accountability of his government. The government’s response has been to threaten, harass and arrest him. Fatorma continues to fight. More


Melron Nicol-Wilson

Melron Nicol-Wilson, a Sierra Leone attorney, represents people who cannot afford legal counsel. Despite threats to his career and even his life, Nicol-Wilson has remained true to his cause. Many of the causes for which he's been a staunch advocate in Sierra Leone have been taken up by the majority. More


Billy Sankoh

Sierra Leone Army Doctor Billy Sankoh was one of the first physicians to work at the country’s new Ebola Treatment Center. The Ebola virus was raging throughout the country, and Sankoh oversaw hundreds of dying patients, including his fellow doctors. Every day, Sankoh risked his life. More

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Jonathan Leigh

Outspoken Sierra Leonean journalist Jonathan Leigh continually risks arrest and imprisonment by the government as a result of his editorials. In 2013-2014, he and a colleague spent a year in confinement because of an editorial questioning the integrity of President Koroma. Leigh continues to challenge the government. More

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Naasu Fofanah

Since being raped and getting an illegal abortion as a teenager, Naasu Fofanah has fought for women’s rights in Sierra Leone. For three years as a government advisor she lobbied for a “Safe Abortion Bill” that the President refused to sign. In the end, she challenged too many traditional males and was removed from her post. More

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Umaru Fofana

Umaru Fofana, a Sierra Leone journalist, covered the Ebola virus epidemic. He risked his life interviewing victims and entering areas in which the virus had spread. Despite taking precautions, each day’s undertaking was harrowing. More


David Tam-Baryoh

After David Tam-Baryoh challenged the transparency of a financial decision in a radio interview, the government arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned him. His radio show was canceled, he was labeled an “enemy of the State,” and he had his passport taken away. More.

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Hindolo Pokawa

Trained in social work in the US, Hindola Pokawa put aside a career there to start the Sierra Leone Foundation for a New Democracy, providing education, child care, and trainings in sustainable farming and peace-building in the poorest and most neglected villages in Sierra Leone and—ultimately— throughout Africa. More

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Peter Konteh

Catholic Priest Peter Konteh risked his life to care for his fellow citizens of Sierra Leone when the Ebola virus devastated the country in 2014. Konteh has also worked to halt the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and to build schools and educate the impoverished youth of Sierra Leone. More


Zainab Kamara

Zainab Kamara is a Giraffe Hero for sticking her neck out to become a powerful voice for the disabled in Sierra Leone, mobilising the physically challenged to stand up against violence, abuse, economic exploitation, and any other form of discrimination. More

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Ibrahim Tommy

31-year-old Ibrahim Tommy has fought relentlessly to secure justice for all in his homeland of Sierra Leone by leading projects promoting accountability and rule of law. Many challenges and powerful enemies haven't deterred him. More

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Chernor Bah

Chernor Bah is a Giraffe Hero for his work as a global advocate for human rights and education, as a champion for the rights of girls, and for his brave work in helping combat the recent Ebola outbreak in his home country of Sierra Leone. More


Vinod Khatumal

In Freetown, Sierra Leone, Vinod Khatumal manages an import/export business, but during Sierra Leone's vicious civil war, he spent much of his time and income assisting farmers displaced by the fighting. More

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Dr. Komba Songu-M'briwa

For eight weeks, Dr. Komba Songu-M'briwa worked at the understaffed Hastings Ebola Treatment Centre outside Sierra Leone's capital. When he began feeling sick, he thought it might be exhaustion but on Nov. 26, 2014 he got dreadful news: He’d tested positive for Ebola. More

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Andrew Greene

Andrew Greene has tackled the huge task of helping the people of Sierra Leone rebuild their lives and establish a society based on nonviolent cooperation, following a decade of war and violence--and now Ebola. More

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John Bangura

“John, your country is on fire; your people are dying. You must do something about it!” When John Bangura heard an inner voice speak those words, the hatred in this Sierra Leone refugee’s heart was transformed from a need for vengeance into a mission of peace.Read his story

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Ishmeal Charles

Ishmeal Charles was 12 when gunmen raided his village and conscripted him into the Revolutionary United Front--the Sierra Leonean Rebel group notorious for using children as soldiers and labourers. This is his story. read more