Founder and C.E.O. – Faith Okrafo-Smart
Board of Trustees/ Board Members
Chairman of the Board of Trustees – Dr Fatmatta Hassan
Treasurer – Mrs Anita Sowah
Youth President – Jermaine Okrafo-Smart
UK Advisor- Abiodun Paseda
U.S. Advisor – Abdul Hassan
U.S. Advisor – Victoria Hassan
U.S. Medical Mission Advisor Dr George King Aboagye
U.S. Medical Mission Advisor Laura Aboagye
Faith Okrafo-Smart is a best-selling author, a motivational speaker and has a passion to help and impact the lives of the poor and needy in Sierra Leone and abroad. Faith is the Founder of Melqosh Mission International, a Non-profit Organisation, birthed to provide aid to the marginalised and physically challenged, their dependants and carers.
Her vision is to implement development strategies for education, health, trade and employment specifically for physically challenged and war afflicted amputees. “With access to these services , the beneficiaries will have coveted opportunities that we all deserve and a chance to articulate in productive activities, thereby becoming successful, not only for themselves but for the development of Sierra Leone”.
Faith’s passion to work with war afflicted amputees in Sierra Leone stems from the philanthropic work of her dad with disadvantaged people she witnessed during her childhood and closely experiencing the effects of the war on her family. Although she was in the United Kingdom when the war broke in Sierra Leone, her father who was a former Member of Parliament was brutally attacked severally by the rebels and almost died as a result of the inhumane assaults. He would have died during the war but for the timely arrival of the ECOMOG soldiers, just before the torch was put to the wheel tyre hung on her father’s neck by the rebel to burn him alive.
Faith and her family did not know whether her father was dead or alive and the anxiety of not knowing his whereabouts weighed heavily on the family for months. News came from time to time from people saying he was killed and some witnesses who had seen her family’s houses ravaged and pillaged, rebels viciously beating her father and tying him to a tree to burn him alive; the general conclusion was that he was possibly dead. There was no way to get news from relatives or friends as the civilians in Sierra Leone were in hiding or had flown to neighbouring countries as refugees.
News of his survival reached Faith’s family after months of anguish, he had been whisked to a hospital in Lungi in a comatose state by some soldiers, where he was hospitalised for several months, recovering from series of recurring heart attacks and his wounds. He was kept in hiding as he was still a prime target of the rebels. He returned back to his home after the war ended but he never recovered from the assaults of the war and died in 2004, two years after the war officially ended in Sierra Leone.
Faith recounts “My father’s death was definitely untimely; he was only 63 years old when he died after series of further heart attacks and I believe he would have lived much longer, if not for the war; he never bounced back to good health. I saw my dad during my first visit to Sierra Leone after the war and he was a shadow of the father I had last seen more than a decade ago. The ravages of war were so evident in his face and body, I knew the war had ‘killed’ my father even though he was still alive . I may not know what a physical amputation feels like but I remember the emotional amputation I experienced the day my dad died.” “I have pledged to help victims of the war especially the amputees and their dependants and endeavour to provide as much aid as possible to help them live meaningful
Brilliant, award winning internationally well respected actor Ellen Thomas began her career in the UK 20 years ago. She has had many television roles, but is perhaps best known for her recurring role of LIZ WEBBE in the award winning Channel 4 comedy drama “TEACHERS”. She was nominated for a comedy award for her role as ADOHA in the BAFTA award winning BBC2 comedy series “REV”. She also starred in the BBC3 comedy “COMING OF AGE”. Ellen then went on to make television history when she played the role of the Nigerian matriarch MRS GRACE OLUBUNMI in one of the UK’s best loved multi award winning soap operas “EASTENDERS”. Ellen’s Theatre credits include starring roles in classic plays at some of the UK’s most respected theatre companies.
Ambassador – Ms Mariatu Kamara
UNICEF’s Special Representative and author of the Bite of a Mango, Mariatu Kamara is now Melqosh Mission International’s Ambassador to Canada.
At the tender age of 12, Mariatu’s village in Sierra Leone was seized by war rebels, who cut off both of her hands.During the invasion, she witnessed the murder of many members of her immediate family and friends, including her rapist. Mariatu escaped and made her way to the Connaught Hospital in Freetown
After being released from the hospital, Mariatu spent many years begging for money while living at the crowded Aberdeen Amputee Camp. She also became part of a theatre group at the camp, and along with many other amputees her age, was able to raise awareness of her country’s problems by performing and dancing. She was then given the chance to get prosthetics and travelled to London. Thanks to a UNICEF sponsorship, she moved to Canada where she has toured with UNICEF to promote equal rights as well as education.
Her desire is to be a voice for her fellow war amputees who are in Sierra Leone.
UK Co-ordinator- Robert Jones
Marcus Oba Wright
Mr Mahmoud Sheik Kabba – Sierra Leone Country Co-ordinator
Mr M.S. Kabba is Head of co-ordinating missions and projects. He oversees the IT Academy and Ebola Crisis Food Aid & P.P.EProgramme on the ground. He is a Peace and Conflicts graduate and holds a Masters in the same discipline.