Children After War
AT A GLANCE:
Names: Fr. Fatorma Combey
Impresario Since: April 24, 2019
Description: From dislocation to relocation, Fr. Combey has encouraged and empowered hundreds of war refugees for nearly three decades. FTF has agreed to engage with Fr. Combey to creatively determine how to continue his efforts.
Location: Kailahun, Sierra Leone
We met up with Fr. Combey at a restaurant in Freetown when looking for a trustworthy up-country contact who might pave the way for the FTF’s future in Sierra Leone. We had heard from a friend that Fr. Combey worked on cool projects in a faraway place called Kailahun, but beyond that we knew nothing. During the meal we hounded him with endless questions about his work. “Just wait,” he would tell us, “When you come to Kailahun and see the people and the villages, then you’ll understand what we do.” So we went. During the visit we clearly saw the beauty in Fr. Combey’s soul, reflected in the incredible work he has sustained over the last few decades.
Fr. Combey’s work began in the Guinean refugee camps during the Sierra Leonean Civil War where he ensured that the victims of war would not be deprived of education and enculturation. When the war ended and families returned back to Sierra Leone, Fr. Combey created an organization called Children After War to provide the ex-refugees with a community of support.
Among other activities, CAW has empowered its beneficiaries by setting up a credit union for each group to give members the opportunity to save money and take small loans for things like children’s school fees, business startups and emergency situations.
Today there are eight active CAW groups in six towns, each having roughly forty members (excluding their dependents). More than simply credit unions, these groups are synergistic communities where members join together to share stories, laugh, cry, dance, eat and grumble.
NEWS AND UPDATES:
Where we are now:
Because of other work engagements, Fr. Combey has become somewhat distanced from the CAW groups, but he has not lost the place in his heart for these people. In an effort to seek out creative opportunities for developing and sustaining the groups, CAW has asked FTF to assist in launching a broad survey which will determine the challenges the groups are encountering and the direction they are moving in.
The goal of the survey is three-fold: to determine opportunities for agricultural cooperatives and value-added processes, to examine strengths and opportunities for the credit unions, and to collect information on the state of civil society within the groups.
When the survey information has been collected the next engagement will likely be to assist CAW in writing grants to carry out future plans for assisting these groups. If you are a grant writer, if you know any grant writers, or you are not a grant writer but want to give it a shot, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET INVOLVED DIRECTLY:
Think you can help with one of the ongoing project goals in a unique way? Use this form to contact the field worker currently collaborating on this project and get in touch!