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Ishmael Alfred Charles of Caritas Freetown selected amongst 50 Influential Sierra Leoneans

 By Mohamed Konneh

On Friday night 1st June 2018, Ishmael Alfred Charles was honored by a group of young and innovative Sierra Leoneans headed by Chief Alex Nallo Jr. in recognition of his modest endeavours in helping to alleviate the suffering of the poorest of the poor. Ishmael is among the 50 influential young Sierra Leonean selected this year by the panel. His selection was based on his servant leadership approach in serving humanity with dignity and passion.

Charles was very much thankful but most importantly humble after receiving the awards noting that “I am celebrating my award with the many other awardees who were honored alongside me and i pray fervently that we continue to do our very best in influencing positive change in our communities through our selfless actions.

Ishmael was honoured along side Sierra Leone first Lady, Madam Fatima Bio, who also made the list of 50 most influential Sierra Leoneans 2018.

The message from the first lady at the award was a wakeup call to all Sierra Leonean women. She gave all to help her husband win the Presidency, she is a gem to this process and one woman who inspires many other women, she did not sit at home waiting to be called First Lady, she climbed the trucks and walk the walk while talking the talk, setting a New Direction for other women that their place in society remains partners in development and not backbenchers. Even in her new office she demonstrated it, as a compassionate mother, immediately she saw baby Mustapha her love for this little child was immeasurable as she acted immediately.

The same for the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Dr. Alie Kabbah, who reaffirmed the President’s Commitment to invest in Young People. “We have to invest in Education as a matter of National Survival. We need to spend 20% of our GDP on education. We have to invest in young people he emphasized and our President believes in the power of Young people. We want to prepare young people to be architects of our destiny.”

Charles dedicated his award to the newest Hero baby Mustapha Augustus Roberts who will travel on Tuesday to India for a liver transplant.

Short Biography of Ishmael Alfred Charles

Ishmael Alfred Charles is a survivor of Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war. Kidnapped during the war by the rebels at 14-years old, Charles witnessed terrible horrors but this did not defeat him and from this experience he “always wanted to be someone who will help his community rather than destroy it”.

Completed his primary education at the St. Edwards Primary school and his secondary education at the Prince of Wales School then proceeded to FBC.

Started his career in serving humanity by working for Network Movement for Justice and Development on the Economic Justice Program focusing on Campaign for ‘Just Mining’, then under the Youth Empowerment Program in the Mano River basin.

He later moved to the Center for Coordination of Youth Activities where he worked as a Senior Program Assistant focusing on youth engagement and participation. Championed the review of the 2006 National Youth Policy, served as a crucial voice in the youth empowerment drive and attended the Young Leaders Summit in Oslo.

He served as an Adviser to the Women’s Refugee Commission’s “Out of School Youth Initiative program”.

During his tenure at both the Network Movement for Justice and Development and the Center for Coordination of Youth Activities, he passionately advocated for young people’s constructive engagement and participation in decision making processes and was a civil society youth representative at the ENCISS board.

Currently He is Healey International Relief Foundation’s In-Country Program Manager in Sierra Leone working with Caritas-Freetown where he doubles as the Programs Manager. He manages and monitors all . He studied Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sierra Leone and earned a certificate in International Humanitarian Affairs from Fordham University New York.

During the Ebola strike of 2014, Mr. Charles together with his boss Rev. Fr. Peter Konteh, Executive Director – Caritas Freetown, were invited by the U.S. Senate to testify at the Senate and address the US press on behalf of the humanitarian efforts in Sierra Leone. These passionate testimonies of Mr. Charles, one of our most selfless Philanthropists, accelerated the move by the U.S. Senate to reach a decision that saw the arrival of the U.S. Center for Disease Control CDC into all three Ebola stricken countries.

When the country was hit by a twin shock of mudslide and flash floods, Ishmael Alfred Charles led the humanitarian efforts from the Caritas Freetown and partner’s angle in providing healthcare support, including basic clothing and wears and other necessities for victims/survivors.

He has inspired so many people in Sierra Leone both young and old through his method of service and commitment while working with poor and needy people. He is a worthy figure to emulate as he is very influential in his own unique way.

The spirit of humility and selflessness he demonstrates while executing his responsibilities passionately makes him an influential being as he does not wait for others to start, he always leads even if he has to carry things on his head, Mr. Charles will do, this has made many of his staff and others who are following him on TV, radio and social media to copy his method of services as he always say “he is serving humanity with dignity and passion”.

 

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