Heaven Homes Sierra Leone
Commonwealth Point of Light 84. Fatmata Kiptieu Sessay
Fatmata Kiptieu "Kippy" Sessay, representing Sierra Leone, is the founder of ‘Heaven Homes’, a residential care home and educational centre for children, including those who have lost their family to Ebola.
Kippy was inspired to set up the organisation following her experience working on rehabilitation as a Probation Officer in the UK. In 2010, Kippy returned to Sierra Leone and established ‘Heaven Homes’ in an effort to rebuild families and communities devastated by 10 years of civil war. Her ‘Learning Academy’, which includes a purpose built library, provides free education and a hot meal to over 180 children every day. In 2015, they became the first community to accept child Ebola survivors into care. To date, 41 of the 48 children in their care lost their main carer during the Ebola epidemic. Recently Kippy has collaborated with international bodies to promote the interests of vulnerable children in Sierra Leone post-Ebola. Her work has been noted by the Ministry of Social Welfare, who are considering how to replicate her model of residential care for children countrywide.
Kippy received her award from Guy Warrington, UK High Commissioner in Sierra Leone (pictured below):
Guy Warrington, UK High Commissioner in Sierra Leone, said:
“I was delighted to present this award to Kippy as one of the Commonwealth Points of Light on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen this afternoon. These awards are meant to focus on those members of Society who give freely of their time and energy without expecting reward. Kippy is a worthy recipient of the award. She returned to establish the ‘Heaven Homes’ orphanage in 2010, after having spent many years in UK working as a Prosecutor for the National Probation Service. She is a beacon of hope and commitment to the issue of child protection and safeguarding here in Sierra Leone. The British High Commission and, in particular our Defence section, have been privileged to work with her in improving the lives of orphans and disadvantaged children over the last few years.”
“We are pleased to receive this award, which is a reflection of the Spirit of the Commonwealth and the extent to which we are willing to serve each other. Our work in Sierra Leone is a combination of our passion and our commitment to see humanity thrive and to make a difference to those who would otherwise be voiceless. This has been made possible by a dedicated team of volunteers and support from our partners, the British High Commission and the Royal Navy. I want to thank Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her leadership and for exemplifying our Commonwealth values.”