The Fig Tree Children is a Brisbane based charity founded by Jane Shakespeare in support of the work Reverand Father Peter Konteh (Father of priests and Director for Caritas, Freetown) is doing in Sierra Leone to help orphaned and vulnerable children and youths. Jane met Fr. Peter in February 2006 when she visited St. Mary’s Children’s Home, a home he had founded in 1999 in response to the number of orphans resulting from the 10 year civil war that destroyed his country.
Many children suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of rebels and were left to die in the streets. There was a desperate need for a safe haven for children such as these to rebuild their lives physically, emotionally and spiritually and the home offered this outreach of love and support. Today, the ebola virus is responsible for even more orphans on the streets of Sierra Leone and as a result providing homes for thousands more orphans is now critical.
St Mary’s began in a rented house with six children; two girls and four boys. Today there are two residential buildings – one for boys and another for girls. The home to this day still supports children, including war orphans, the vulnerable, homeless, those separated from their families and more recently ebola orphans. A family atmosphere is created by caring staff, supervised by Caritas, Bo. Here, these war orphans not only receive food and shelter, but are also educated.
Fr. Peter has continued his work for orphaned and vulnerable children, and has established a team of volunteers for The Fig Tree Children to work alongside Caritas, Freetown and Afewy to help with identifying the children in need and forwarding their profiles and stories to us in Brisbane. We share the stories and up until August 2015 have been receiving one off and monthly recurring donations to support their programs.
As from September 1st 2015, in response to people asking if they can sponsor a child directly, we have introduced the ‘Sponsor a Fig Tree Child’ Program where a sponsor is found for each of the children. In our first week of doing this, we received sponsors for 7 children. You can see the children who have received sponsors here.