Tiffany Persons & Shine on Sierra Leone

Just imagine…

An Black American woman who lives in California and works in the film industry ends up visiting Sierra Leone. She falls in love with the beauty of the people and the place, and learns about the country’s connection to the blood diamond crisis. And, she’s so moved that she ends up making a documentary about the crisis. 

Her connection to Sierra Leone is so deep that eventually she launches a nonprofit called Shine on Sierra Leone

THEN, after running the nonprofit for around five years, that same woman does an ancestry test. She finds out that her maternal lineage is ALL from Sierra Leone. She literally had no idea.

Isn’t that incredible? 

The question is… Was she led there by some ancestral force? In other words, was she guided back to help her homeland? Could she feel a part of herself in the people and the land? 

All of that amazingness aside, let’s introduce her properly…

Meet Tiffany Persons. 

“I found out that I am directly from the tribes I serve,” Tiffany shares, still awe-struck years later. “It has given me a sense of peace. I have found home.”

Shine On Sierra Leone works to develop the social capital of Sierra Leone through various projects in the areas of education, arts, entrepreneurship and micro-lending​, maternal and child ​healthcare, computer and adult ​literacy, sustainable ​infrastructure, eco-tourism, ​and agriculture.

Here are some of the organization’s long list of victories:

The organization built from scratch and runs a primary school called Muddy Lotus that educates nearly 400 students via a non-traditional, holistic approach that includes mindfulness practices such as deep breathing.

Shine on Sierra Leone also launched a maternal and children’s healthcare program that has served some 50,000 women and children to date. 

They’ve also provided over 7000 micro loans. 

They’ve built and managed over eight computer centers throughout Sierra Leone, and trained over 20,000 people on computer literacy.

The organization has distributed 300 water filter bucket systems that will provide pure water to 30,000 people over the next 10 years. 

600 people have been educated in their adult literacy program. 

The organization takes care of 63 children orphaned by the 2014 ebola outbreak. 

The nonprofit recently launched Ashley’s Clinic, a healthcare program on their Muddy Lotus Primary School grounds, which aims to address malaria, and diarrheal and respiratory diseases – illnesses that plague Sierra Leone’s youth. Recently opened, in its first six weeks of operation the clinic has already successfully treated 28 cases of malaria.

Shine on Sierra Leone has literally breathed life into the community in which it works.

With all of that accomplished, you may ask, what could be next on the organization’s agenda?

Along with increasing the capacity of its clinic, the organization has begun expanding its educational program. This month, the Muddy Lotus Secondary School will officially open. The school will dive deeper into holistic education, aiming to cultivate young people who are “powerful, conscious, self-actualized stewards of service and transformation for their country and the world at large.”

Lastly, the organization has launched a student sponsorship program. For a small monthly contribution of $35, donors support a child’s education, provides them ongoing access to healthcare and gives them a daily hot lunch. 

To support Shine On Sierra Leone, connect with them at shineonsierraleone.org

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