Our Team

Team Brisbane

Jeremy

JEREMY DAVIES
President

Jeremy has a rich tapestry of business experience gleaned from his years in top corporate roles. His acumen has been crucial in helping Jane set up The Fig Tree Children charity. Jane vouches that without Jeremy’s cheerleading, expertise, compassion and sound advice, the charity would not exist.

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JANE SHAKESPEARE
Founder & Secretary

Jane is the founder of The Fig Tree Children. She is married to Jeremy and is mum to Harry. After a life-changing trip to Sierra Leone and seeing the number of children on the streets of Sierra Leone in 2006, Jane has had an overwhelming desire to want to do something more to help these children and has committed herself to do something about it, and to inspire others to do the same. Jane says the main objective of the charity and website is to raise awareness and attract donations to support vulnerable children in Sierra Leone. She enjoys the opportunity to help Fr. Peter, Michael Bangura and the team in Sierra Leone realise their dream to help provide for, protect and educate orphaned or vulnerable children.

Isobelle

ISOBELLE TORRALBA
Board Member

Isobelle has been involved in the Financial Services sector for over 30 years. Educated overseas, she worked as a Foreign Exchange Dealer before moving to Australia. After an extensive career in Banking she chose to focus her energy on Financial Advising and stockbroking.

Isobelle has been a huge supporter of The Fig Tree Children since Jane mentioned it to her in its early days and her commitment with sponsoring some of the children and her experience in previous charitable work, she was the ideal person to invite onto our team. We very much look forward to having Isobelle onboard.

FAYE FEARON
Marketing

Faye is a teacher and mother of a young daughter. She has been teaching children for the past 12 years in the UK and Australia. Faye feels privileged to be part of The Fig Tree Children and being able to help. Since meeting Jane many years ago, she has been inspired by Jane’s dedication, hard work and determination to get the charity to where it is today and changing so many children’s lives for the better. Faye is a volunteer and helps Jane with social media and marketing.

JENNY BAYLY
Treasurer

Jenny is a Certified Bookkeeping Specialist and really admires the work of The Fig Tree Children in trying to positively influence the lives of children in one of the most disadvantaged part of the world. She is honoured to be given the title of volunteer bookkeeper, and to ensure the donated funds are used as much as possible to benefit the children and not on overheads.

JOHN HAWKINS
Board Member

John was a successful retailer for over 40 years, running his own Garden and Nursery business and has been on numerous boards during his time as a retailer. He’s been a big supporter of The Fig Tree Children since Jane first started and was our first sponsor, sponsoring twin boys, Edward and Mustapha. John has been a positive influence and a great mentor for us, always coming up with great ideas and ways for The Fig tree Children to develop and grow. John’s focus will be raising the profile of The fig Tree Children using his experience of hosting the ‘Hawkins Style’ TV show for many years for helping us with marketing and growing our sponsorship base. We are very honoured to have John join our team and look forward to having him on board.

Team Sierra Leone

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REVEREND FATHER PETER KONTEH
Technical Advisor

Fr. Peter founded St. Mary’s Children’s Home in 1999. He has been providing care, basic needs and schooling to orphans ever since. Fr. Peter is a Catholic Priest, Director of Caritas Sierra Leone and also the President of Priests in Sierra Leone.

Fr. Peter and Jane met in 2006 and have kept in contact ever since. Fr. Peter helped Jane develop the team in Sierra Leone and is influential in how the charity is run there. Nothing happens without his say so.

Read Fr. Peter’s full biography here

MICHAEL BANGURA
Project Co-ordinator

Michael has specialised increasingly in complex multi-cultural realities at both a national and international level. He has experience in strategic forward planning, monitoring and periodic evaluation of programs operating within budgets which he has helped plan. The material helps participants meet deadlines even in emergency crises situations. It also applies modern leadership methods through self-motivation and involvement both in decision making and setting targets. The program helps with communication clarity and personal and interpersonal relationships. “My own cosmopolitan background and analytical interests in other cultures and people have also left me confident in handling negotiations and mediations that require the reconciliation of different national approaches to otherwise common problems.”

ISHMEAL ALFRED CHARLES
Board Member

Ishmeal (Charles) is a survivor of Sierra Leone’s 11-year brutal civil war. In 1997, when he was just 14, 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 labourer 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 missed education. He persevered, graduating from high school and earning a Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sierra Leone. He has also earned a certificate in International Humanitarian Affairs at 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’s Program Manager in Sierra Leone working with Caritas-Freetown. He currently leads 250 volunteers and 30 staff members with the joint HIRF/Caritas-Freetown “Ebola Awareness and Prevention Project” in 11 communities in the rural and Urban Western Districts of Sierra Leone. His passion for his job was driven by his past. Charles credits his personal determination and support from his mother who enabled him to overcome the many obstacles he faced.

MUSA PETER MOIGUA
Board Member & Financial Advisor

Musa has been at the forefront of children’s issues for the past 12 years of working for Caritas Freetown. Part of his initial responsibilities was to manage the finances of St. Mary’s Children’s Home.

He has since developed a strong sense of managing not only the funds for these children and the expenses of the home but has also developed a strong and keen interest in children’s affairs and wellbeing.

As a father himself, he has always demonstrated a strong love for children and has over the years dedicated his service free of charge for the development and progress of Children’s affairs.

Along these lines, he started a small charity in his home town to pay school fees for less privileged children whose parents couldn’t afford to send them to school. He also helped the children’s parents become more financially secure by engaging them in agricultural activities.

In his professional capacity as Finance Manager of Caritas Freetown he has always shown keen interest in projects geared towards the development of children and young people.

AMINATA (AIMEE) SHERIFF
Chairperson & Board Member

Aminata is Project Coordinator for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Sierra Leone.  She grew up in an extended family and recalls being motivated by her mum and other illiterate women who continued to toil daily despite steep obstacles. Their resilience ignited her dream of helping restore human dignity.

Like many Sierra Leoneans, Aminata’s life was interrupted by the war. She left Sierra Leone for the United Kingdom in her early Twenties, returning in 2014 to join the fight against the Ebola virus. “This reignited my desire to help others and I was reminded of how communal living had contributed to my instinctive need to help. Before The Fig Tree Foundation, the kids I saw on a daily basis roaming the streets of Freetown might be written off as a lost generation. But their travails give me inspiration to work hard for human dignity. We can all look back at our past – however terrible it was – and draw inspiration from it to make society a better place to live.”

JAMES NYAMAWU
Social Worker & Volunteer

James is Home Uncle at St. Mary’s Children’s Home and attends external meetings for the home and writes their reports. He is also a One Month Volunteer at the home and Project Proposal writer for the Pastoral and Social Centre in Bo. He provides on-going formation workshops for Religious and Moral Education Teachers (RME) in Bo and in Catholic Schools and Catechists in the Catholic Diocese of Bo. He is also involved with pastoral work at St. Joseph Hospital, Koforidua, Eastern Region, Ghana. His diverse roles include being a teacher at St. Anthony Junior Secondary School, Bantama Section, Kumasi Ghana and an Enumerator Officer Statistic Sierra Leone Sumbuya Lugbu Chiefdom Bo District.

THERESA KAMARA
Administration/Finance Volunteer

Theresa Kamara has been in the forefront of children issues for the past 13 years of working for Caritas Freetown and Bo as part of her initial responsibilities was to manage the finances of St. Mary’s Children’s Home working under the supervision of the Financial Adviser. She was directly responsible for the managing of the funds on day to day bases in the home. Because of the passion she has and the number of hours on a daily bases she spend with the children. Over the period she has demonstrated compassion for children and this has lead her to adopt one of the children from St. Mary’s Children’s home as she currently serve as a caregiver for one of the children. Theresa though works under the supervision of the Finance Manager of Caritas, manages the accounts income and expenditure of Caritas Freetown projects and pays special interest on child centered projects without any interest in remuneration from those projects. Being a mother of one and a caregiver, she has been involved many community engagements on children affairs in her community, advising and supporting less privileged children within her community. In 2011, Theresa Kamara paid for four less privileged children to take their NPSE exams and they all made good grades. She remains passionate to children and has keen interest in ensuring that they achieve their dreams.

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