About Friends of Sierra Leone
Friends of Sierra Leone, FoSL, Sierra Leone diaspora Friends of Sierra Leone Friends of Sierra Leone is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 by a small group of returned Peace Corps Volunteers, soon joined by their Sierra Leonean friends and other volunteers who had served in Sierra Leone. We are a country-of-service affiliate of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA). However, both the NPCA and Friends of Sierra Leone are independent of the Peace Corps , and membership in FoSL is open to anyone who shares our goals, which are: Aid in the development and well-being of Sierra Leone and its people. Increase understanding among Americans and others about Sierra Leone. Serve as a "Virtual Cottontree," a gathering place for all of us to share our ideas and thoughts. Friends of Sierra Leone is a U.S.-based voluntary, not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving Sierra Leone. The Friends of Sierra Leone (FoSL) is non-political and supports all of Sierra Leone, regardless of ethnicity or region. The Friends of Sierra Leone was founded in 1991 by a small group of returned Peace Corps volunteers who had served in Sierra Leone. In the summer of 1991, this group convened a public forum to share news about Sierra Leone and to find ways they might continue to contribute to the development of the country they served. FoSL membership has expanded to over 500 members around the world. About 65% are returned Peace Corps volunteers, 25% are Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leonean-Americans, and 10% are others who have worked, lived or studied in Sierra Leone. Friends of Sierra Leone strives to educate Americans and those in other countries about Sierra Leone's peoples, cultures and history and advocate for legislation favorable to Sierra Leone's interests. The FoSL also supports small-scale development and relief projects in Sierra Leone. Funding for FoSL's development and relief projects comes from membership dues and donations from individual and/or group supporters. As a 501(c) (3) voluntary organization, FoSL members perform all tasks without pay. Between 1991 and 2002, FoSL has Sponsored the shipment of 17 containers of relief and medical materials. Donated books and other educational materials to schools and other educational institutions. Supported indigenous NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations) activities for displaced and orphaned children. Contributed to Sierra Leone national activities, such as the 1996 Sierra Leone Olympic Team in Atlanta, Georgia. Co-sponsored with the Rotary Club of New York the Gift of Limbs project that brought Sierra Leone amputees to the US for prosthesis fittings and physical therapy Led advocacy campaign in US Congress for the resolution of the 10-year conflict in Sierra Leone. Joined advocacy efforts in US Congress to pass legislation regulating 'conflict diamonds'. As a small organization with limited resources, FoSL often collaborates with other non-profits to optimize our effectiveness and build coalitions in support of Sierra Leone interests. WHAT FRIENDS OF SIERRA LEONE DOES Relief and Development Assistance The Friends of Sierra Leone's relief and development assistance is designed to respond to Sierra Leone's changing needs, as they arise. Between 1991 and 2002, foSL sponsored over six million dollars of relief and medical materials to aid refugees and displaced Sierra Leoneans - victims of a protracted rebel war. In addition numerous small projects and relief-in-kind assistance projects have been sponsored. A Voice for Sierra Leone in the United States The Friends of Sierra Leone advocates for America's attention to Sierra Leone issues via direct visits to congressional leaders and administration officials, and by organizing nation-wide grass roots letter writing and telephone campaigns. Friends of Sierra Leone is widely regarded as a major advocate for Sierra Leone issues in the United States. The unfortunate events following the May 25, 1997 military coup in Sierra Leone brought foSL, for the first time, to the halls of the United States Congress to Urge U.S. policy makers to stand by House Concurrent Resolution 160, which honored Sierra Leone's 1996 multiparty elections, and affirmed America's commitment to help African nations move toward democracy, freedom, peace, and economic development. Request support for the approval of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Sierra Leoneans in the U.S. during the continuing civil strife in Sierra Leone. Friends of Sierra Leone played a significant role in the June 11, 1998 Hearing, Reconstructing Sierra Leone, convened by the House Subcommittee on Africa during the 105th U.S. Congress. Sierra Leone-American Historical Connections The Friends of Sierra Leone celebrates the Sierra Leone-American historical connections while educating Americans and others about Sierra Leone, her people and culture, through Public events which feature U.S. and Sierra Leone government officials, donor community officials, major film producers, anthropologists, authors, artists and historians. Meetings at historical sites, such as the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, the Penn Center in South Carolina and the Amistad Museum in Mystic, CT.
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