About IBF

The Ishmael Beah Foundation (IBF) is a private, independent institution dedicated to helping children  and youth affected by  war reintegrate into society and improve their lives. The Foundation aims at creating and financing educational and vocational opportunities for children and youth who have been affected by war, so that they can be empowered to choose a life free of conflict.
The Foundation will achieve its goals through providing tuition, granting scholarships, creating literary and study corners that will be open to children and youth, as a way of engaging them and providing them with a safe place to take charge of their lives.

IBF will focus on the post-conflict and rehabilitation stages with emphasis on the monitoring of children’s and youth progressive reintegration into society to prevent them from re-entering the cycle of conflict and violence. 

A child or youth affected by war is any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of armed force or armed group in any capacity, whose life has been destabilized by war regardless of whether they participated directly in the war. The IBF will support such children and youth until they are self sufficient to carry on life as productive member of their society.

Even though the initial projects will commence in Sierra Leone, West Africa, the IBF plans to broaden its work to other parts of the world where children and youth are, or have become, victims of conflicts that are not of their making.

Message from President & Founder, continued
      I was fortunate enough to survive the civil war in my country Sierra Leone, underwent rehabilitation and was brought to the United States to have a home, a life, a family but more importantly an education. With that education I began to discover my place in the world, my responsibilities and my humanity. So for me this foundation is a way to provide others that same opportunity to discover themselves and their contributions to the world.
        When the foundation was founded in 2007, and before it became operational, I decided to travel to my home country Sierra Leone, where I intended to launch the foundation’s first initiative, to find out how to implement programs that will significantly benefit children and youth. During this quest, I used my own finances to support various children and youth programs on the ground, leaving the foundations contributions to be used only when its board members, advisors and myself had determined the best possible way to support the provision of opportunities for youth.  
      One of those programs that I came across was an organization called Schools for Salone. Though this organization, I built a primary school and a water well, near the village that I lived as a child. During this trial period, I found remarkable, honest and reliable people to work with. This was what I needed most to begin using donations made to the Ishmael Beah Foundation (IBF) to accomplish its goals. In 2009 IBF gave its first round of nationwide scholarship in Sierra Leone with the help of its implementing partner on the ground, Community Advocacy And Development Movement (CADEM). A yearly grant was awarded to 50 students to pursue either their education or vocational training.  We funded 10 university students, 10 vocational training students, 12 primary school students and 18 Secondary school students. The grant paid school fees for a year per each grantee, textbooks, uniforms and other related expenses so that each grantee can focus on his or her education/training fully. We also awarded the grant nationwide with a strong gender balance.  The total amount spent for the grants, and administrative cost for one fiscal year, this included placing ads for the grant, securing an office space, traveling to meet selected grantees, progress monitoring of grantees for the year, etc, came out to $36,400.  The following school year we will review our grantees performances and continue with those that have excellent results and also add knew grantees to the program.  Please see the list of grantees and their schools in the Projects section and also read the full application essay from one of our top applicants.  
     I would like to thank the community-based organizations that CADEM worked with to do the selection processes in various regions of the country. Thank you for making the granting process transparent and merit based in lieu with the criteria of IBF. Those organizations are, Coordination for Active Peace and Empowerment (CAPE-SL) Bo Town, Southern Region, Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, Kenema, Eastern Region, and Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Makeni, Northern Region. 
     Once again my gratitude to all for you support and I will continue to update you as we proceed with similar and new projects.

Ishmael Beah
President and Founder
The Ishmael Beah Foundation

Partners of IBF, Coming Soon       

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