Established in 1981 by the mandate of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Sierra Leone, the Archdiocesan Development Office, commonly known as Caritas Freetown, has served since the last 33 years as the relief and development arm of the Archdiocese of Freetown.
During the eleven years of the Sierra Leone civil war (1991–2002), Caritas office was engaged in the emergency response situations of the most vulnerable groups of people with different projects and activities in order to alleviate suffering from their lives. Caritas was implementing relief projects, education projects, social work with internally displaced people and with refugees moving to Guinea, feeding, helping in the repatriation, etc.
Currently Caritas Freetown continues working to eradicate poverty, corruption, injustice; to facilitate equality, good governance, peace, human rights; to promote women, youth and disabled empowerment and also to build resilience trough different action focusing in the Western Area Urban and Rural Districts of Sierra Leone. Caritas is also interested in issues of livelihoods, relief, rehabilitation and healthcare delivery. It means the holistic development of human being. The Justice and Peace commission‘s key goal is to ensure a just society and peaceful co-existence which are key pillars of nations building and development. Practically, resolving disputes and ensuring a peaceful resolution and protection of beneficiaries communities is a crucial aspect of the operations of the commission
Taking reference from international and national laws and documents like the Agenda for Prosperity published by Sierra Leone’s Government for the Country’s post war recovery plan, Caritas Freetown implement projects over the last few years period focusing in different themes.
As a Catholic Church entity the institution has a strong commitment to the Christian values and principles so one priority for Caritas is the formation of youth groups and the promotion of family life and demonstrating leadership in fostering authentic respect for the dignity and rights of every person independently irrespective of their religion, race, tribe, etc. The organization works with communities, government ministries, departments, agencies, local and international partners and community base organizations building the capacities of these community structures in order to enhance their livelihoods and strengthen their capacities to handle their own issues.
Caritas Freetown is also serving as a coordinating office for the socio-pastoral mission of the Catholic Archdiocese of Freetown, networking, supporting, sharing resources, and streamlining the activities of all major actors involved in the Church’s Mission in the Archdiocese particularly parish groups, other diocesan organization, religious congregations, and other bodies active in the Archdiocese, it seek to promote the affairs and interest of these institutions purposely to ensure quality service to the poor.
Archdiocesan Development Office (ADDO) Caritas Freetown
Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles
Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles was born on April 18, 1956 in Kainkordu, Kono District. Archbishop Charles began his religious journey with admittance into St. Kizito’s Pre-Major Seminary, Kenema in 1977. In October 1978, he was accepted at St. Paul’s College-Seminary in Gbarnga, Bong County, Liberia. Four years later, he got his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in June 1982. In June 1985, upon the completion of his theological studies, the Pontifical Urban University for Theological studies in Rome awarded him a Bachelor in Sacred Theology. He was ordained deacon in Liberia on the 28th of April 1985 by the renowned Archbishop Michael Francis of Monrovia. He returned to Sierra Leone that same year and was ordained priest for the Diocese of Kenema by Bishop John O’Riordan at the Uganda Martyrs Church in his home district town of Koidu, on the 4th of April 1986. The then Fr. Charles was appointed to Kenema Cathedral as Assistant and Diocesan Youth Chaplain until in September 1989 when he was recalled to St. Paul’s College Seminary in Gbarnga later that year to teach Philosophy. In April 1990, Fr. Charles brought some of the seminarians back to Kenema because of the Liberian Civil war. In June 1991, he left for Rome to pursue a Licentiate and later a Doctorate degree in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
He returned to Sierra Leone in 1996 and was assigned to St. Paul’s Major Seminary then in Makeni. He was appointed Vice Rector and later Rector of the Major Seminary, a position he held until his appointment as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Freetown and Bo on March 15th 2008 following the retirement in March 2007 of Archbishop Emeritus Joseph H. Ganda who had been in the post since 1980. As Rector, Fr Charles established and managed the St. Paul’s Catholic Community in Regent until he was called to higher pastoral responsibilities.
He was consecrated Archbishop at the National Stadium in Freetown on May 14th, 2008 by His Excellency Most Rev. George Antonysamy, Apostolic Nuncio in Liberia, The Gambia and Sierra Leone.
Rev. Fr. Peter Konteh,Executive Director.
Reverend Father Peter Konteh was ordained a priest on 9th April 1996 at the peak of the Sierra Leone civil war. Immediately after his ordination he entered into active work. During the days of hostilities, all journalists and media houses in the country were closed down and some were burned down. As all other international journalists were on the run owing to the fierceness of the hostilities, Father Peter Konteh served as a British Broadcasting Cooperation correspondent, providing updates and information about the conflict and the atrocities the common people faced on a daily basis at the hands of the fighting forces.
Being a young priest, he spent most of his time trying to seek the possibility of bringing the reality of the war to the wider world so that the international community will intervene and help find a lasting solution to the brutal and senseless conflict in Sierra Leone.
He was a pioneering member of the Inter-Religious Council, an initiative that brings together all denominations of Christians and Muslims to design a plan and pray jointly for peace in his beloved country
Equally, he was providing support in Guinea by coordinating food and non-food items for refugees in that country, while at the same time pushing for the respect of the right of these refugees. His passion for humanity has driven his desire to continually support war affected and suffering people irrespective of their faith, creed or race.
In the midst of the hostilities, Fr. Peter Konteh, with the support of the Archbishop of Freetown and Bo, established St. Mary’s Children’s Home to care for war orphans whose parents were killed, maimed and disabled and unable to care for their children. St. Mary’s Children’s Home has thrived well over these years, essentially providing affection, care and warmth for these children. This has been his direct focus as these children lost their parental love during the cruel conflict.
Because of his self-motivated interest in supporting and caring for others and his involvement in seeking lasting solutions to community and national levels, both in and out of the church, he has been accorded the responsibility to serve as the President for the Confraternity of Priests in Sierra Leone. He is also the Executive Director of the Archdiocesan Development Office/ Caritas Freetown, a solid partner of peace and development.
Mr.Ishmael Alfred CharlesPrograms Director:-
With the support from my Project Officers, mand the affairs of all projects assigned to my desk. organise community meetings, do radio and TV awareness talks and discussions, provide training to teachers and commu nity facilitators how to teach children life skills and sex education to enable them make positive life decisions. doing advocacy on and awareness talks in schools and communities on the negatives of Sexual and Gender Based Violence and it laws in Sierra Leone.
Short Bio of Ishmael Alfred Charles
Thirty one years old Ishmeal (better known as Charles) is a survivor of Sierra Leone’s 11 year brutal civil war. In 1997, when Ishmeal was 14 years old, his mother sent him to Kono District, in eastern Sierra Leone, to live with his father. At the time, Kono was considered the safest place to be in Sierra Leone, but the relative security was short- lived. The rebels soon retreated from Freetown and into Kono, killing and maiming indiscriminately. With nowhere else to go, Charles was captured by the rebels and forced to join them as a child soldier and taught how to use a gun. He was forced into service as a laborer to carry loads on his head whenever the rebels would go looting. .
Charles fled with relatives to the Guinea border, where he spent almost five months living in the bush. When peace was eventually restored and Charles was able to return to Freetown, he had to repeat two levels of school as a result of the schooling he had missed. He persevered, graduating from high school and earning a Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sierra Leone and recently a certificate in International Humanitarian Affairs at the Fordham University.
Based on his experiences, Charles became a strong youth advocate by developing programs for post conflict youths. Charles is Healey International Relief Foundation Program Manager in Sierra Leone working with Caritas-Freetown. In such capacity he manages and monitors all Healey International Relief Foundation projects in Sierra Leone. He currently leads 10 volunteers and 5 staff members with the joint HIRF/Caritas-Freetown “Ebola Awareness and Prevention Project” in 11 communities in the rural Western District of Sierra Leone.
His passion for his job was driven by his past. Charles credits his personal determination and support to his mother who enabled him to overcome the many obstacles he faced.
Archdiocesan Development Office (ADDO) Caritas Freetown.
Incorporated Non Governmental Organization (Registered with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Government of Sierra Leone)
The organization focuses on seven strategic thematic programs, including: (a) Relief and rehabilitation; (b) Livelihoods promotion; (c) Healthcare delivery; (d) Human Rights, Justice and Peace; (e) Education; (f) Gender Empowerment; (h) Youth Empowerment
To transform lives, by alleviating suffering, restoring dignity and inspiring hope. To be sensitive and responsive to the needs of poor people through empowerment, advocacy and networking. Enhancing livelihoods and capacity building
To serve as a coordinating office for the socio-pastoral mission of the Catholic Archdiocese of Freetown, networking, supporting, sharing resources, and streamlining the activities of all major actors involved in the Church’s Mission in the Archdiocese particularly parish groups, other diocesan organization, religious congregations, and other bodies active in the Archdiocese.To operate as not-for profit faith-based non-governmental organization in “building capacities and enhancing livelihoods “of the extremely poor (irrespective of religion, race, nationality, gender, and ethnicity) particularly children, youth, women, and the victims of disasters.
To assist and support capacity development of Archdiocesan pastoral structures/institutions, in the fields of strategic planning/management, on-going training/formation of pastoral agents, finance and investment management; and to assist in fund-raising for the pastoral, spiritual, and evangelization programs of the Archdiocese, the various parishes, and other church institutions operating in the Archdiocese.
We work for a peaceful Sierra Leone, with solidarity and justice with no poverty where the access to healthy food, drinking water, medical care, education, justice, employment and decent lodging will be guaranteed for each one of us. A world where all human beings can live in dignity, achieve a holistic development and also where the communities are architects of their own success.
(Luke 4:16‐20) And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” .