Health & Education for Sierra Leone
Health & Education for Sierra Leone

About IDEA

     The IDEA Foundation (IDEA) is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission of helping the people of Sierra Leone become self-sufficient by supporting health and education programs. These programs give participants the resources to build better lives for themselves and their children, and to strengthen their communities.


     1998, during the decade-long Diamond War, many of current members of the IDEA Board of Directors felt moved to action. The sponsored small projects like brick making tools and electrical generators which povided relief to specific communities. Sierra Leone was underdeveloped before the war, and is still struggling to return to pre-war standards.


     IDEA founders were inspired by the people of Sierra Leone who came together after their civil war by working through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They literally melted down weapons and turned them into farm implements.


     During a 2003 site visit, a war amputee mentioned that the man who cut off his arm lived a short distance up the road. To the stunned silence he described how the amputation had put his life in jeopardy and made it difficult for him to provide for his family. He went on to say that people could see his injury and understood it; but when the man cut of his arm, he had maimed his own soul in a way which no one could see and no one could understand. There was no need for vengeance because this man already had enough problems.


     As the the projects grew, the founders formed the International Development and Education Alliance (IDEA) Foundation. The IRS awarded IDEA 501(c)3 status in 2007. Since then, over 200,000 Sierra Leoneans have benefited from IDEA-sponsored programs.


     We are honored to be to work with the people of Sierra Leone. 




  • President: Edward J. Lysen, MBA
  • Vice President: Crispin Reedy
  • Treasurer: Christie Bandlamudie, CPA
  • Secretary: Richard E. Miner


Members At Large

  • Elizabeth Seaborn Miner
  • Lisa Pool
  • Crispin Reedy
  • Rev. Kris Totzke
  • Chip Vokey, RN
  • Jim Wisneiwski




  • IDEA founders supported small projects: block makers, generators, etc.


  • 501(c)3 status awarded by the IRS. EIN: 57-1233645
  • Site for the Calaba Town clinic identified and renovations began.
  • Nursing students began attending Njala University with full financial support. 
  • IDEA Executive Director conducted site visits in Sierra Leone. 


  • Cabala Town Clinic renovations continue.


  • Heifer International returned to Sierra Leone with co-sponsorship from the IDEA Foundation.
  • The Calaba Town Clinic opened its doors, over 300 patients were seen on opening day.
  • “Peace and Rebuilding” event was celebrated by over fifty people at First Unitarian Society of Denver.
  • Sale of holiday cards began to fund K-8 textbooks and library books; and books for the school of public health at Njala University.
  • IDEA Executive Director conducted site visits in Sierra Leone. 


  • First class with IDEA-sponsored nurses graduated from Njala University.
  • Construction of clean water wells began.
  • IDEA celebrated its first gala and the creation of 2,000 farms.


  • Collaboration began with the West Africa Fistula Foundation, which has facilities in Bo.
  • IDEA sent a forty-foot container to Sierra Leone filled with medical equipment and supplies for the Calaba Town Clinic and the West Africa Fistula Foundation.
  • IDEA celebrated its Second Gala and the creation of 4,000 farms.


  • IDEA Executive Director conducted site visits in Sierra Leone. Our third gala and auction, spring, grow, thrive was held on May 12 in Richardson, Texas. Our friends at the Krio Descendants Union were featured in The Dallas Morning News in conjunction with the event.  
  • IDEA Executive Director and a volunteer, Andrew Wisniewski, conducted site visits.
  • The 5,000th farm was started.  


  • IDEA continued to provide support for the Cabala Town Clinic and the Women’s Literacy Center.



  • IDEA continued to provide support for the Cabala Town Clinic and the Women’s Literacy Center.
  • Two 40-foot containers of medical equipment were sent through MediSend.
  • IDEA also contributed to the shipment costs for an additional container of medical equipment via Brother’s Brother.
  • IDEA’s 5th annual fundraiser, Hope & Health Benefit Concert and Auction, was held November 29th at the historic Lakewood Theater in Dallas, TX. The show featured Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars


  • Ebola Epidemic Response Program provided food to over 1,000 people trapped in quarantine. 
  • Prepared meals were given to Ebola orphans along with food to take home to their new caaregivers.


  • IDEA provided continuing support for the Cabala Town Clinic and the Women’s Literacy Center.
  • Fabric of Hope Gala held at the Prestonwood Country Club in Dallas, TX on November 5th.
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