The Modu Doherty Foundation was birthed out of a longing and conviction to serve my native land of Sierra Leone. I was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa as an early millennial and have spent the majority of my life in the United States of America. Yet all the while, I grew up with an unwavering desire to give hope and ignite purpose into the children and young adults in the land of my birth.
My mother was a teacher and my father worked at a factory. With 7 children, my mother also had a part time job to ensure that our needs were met. While we were being taken care of, I eventually witnessed the sadness of other children who didn't have enough food to eat or, parents that could afford to send them to school. I recall some of my friends at school having difficulty focusing on learning because they were so hungry, and exhausted from having to help their parents at the marketplace before and after school. Sometimes, I would bring extra food to share with my peers or ask for more money from my parents on their behalf. My father had taught me to always "lend a helping hand" and to never look down on others as "no one knows tomorrow," he would say. I soon discovered the truth of his words as it was not long before my father lost his job, which resulted in me having to move in with my Aunt and later, relocating to the United States at the age of eleven - alone.
I left Sierra Leone in the early 1990s, the initial stages of what would end up being a brutal civil war that lasted over a decade. I lost contact with my family members as they were forced to evacuate their homes, carrying only the essentials, to flee for their lives. You can imagine the countless nights I spent wide awake, hoping and praying for the safety of my family members and friends.
In the Summer of 2014, after over two decades of being away, I had the opportunity to finally visit my homeland and conduct some charitable work in the capital of Freetown and surroundings areas. It was a great blessing both for me and for those individuals I met in the process.
Yet, I was also saddened to witness the number of people living in adverse conditions. Upon my return to the USA, I decided to create The Modu Doherty Foundation, to join others in the fight to end poverty in Sierra Leone.
In the process of developing the foundation, news surfaced about the Ebola outbreak which ended up killing over 3,000 people, shut down businesses and the school system for most of the academic year. Rather than seeing this as a setback, I realized that this was the perfect time to put my father's words into action.
The Modu Doherty foundation is named in memory of my wise and loving father. Our motto, "lend a helping hand," also serves as our guiding principle as we seek to make a positive impact in as many lives as possible.
I am asking you to join me in support of this worthy cause.
Take the first of what I hope will be many steps, by joining our mailing list now for updates on activities and specific ways to be involved. I look forward to working together to create a brighter future for children and families in Sierra Leone.
Irene Doherty Anderson
Founder, Executive Director
Meet Our Board
Irene Doherty Anderson
Mary Walker Johnson
Assistant Director Sierra Leone