Founded by Rev. Richard Cole and his wife Yeakah in 1996 as an organic response to the brutal conflict ravaging Sierra Leone, the organisation set about rebuilding the lives of ex-child soldiers and young people affected by war. The organisation currently operates several projects throughout Sierra Leone including: formal education, vocational skill training, agricultural development, various social enterprises and a care home for young people.
Dedicated to holistic development and rebuilding Sierra Leone, we work with some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people; community elders; those in government; businesses; and a wide range of people and institution to empower individuals and communities to prosper and become self-sustainable.
Although officially opened in 1996, the Lifeline Nehemiah Project began in 1992, shortly after the civil war broke out in Sierra Leone.
Richard and Yeakah were moved to action, witnessing the plight of the children affected by the war. Many children had lost their parents and entire families to the conflict, finding themselves alone and overlooked. Other children found themselves lost, kidnapped and forced into violence as child soldiers.
Rescuing these children from their uniquely dangerous situations, Richard, or ‘Pa Cole’ sheltered them in his own home. Going behind rebel lines, negotiating the release of child soldiers into his care, Pa and Mammy Cole quickly became a father and mother to many.
The then government quickly acknowledged Richard’s and Yeakah’s work, and they with their now very large family were invited to move into a much bigger property in Kuntorloh Wellington, East Freetown. Not only satisfied by meeting basic needs, Richard and Yeakah set about rehabilitating and seeing to the educational needs of the boys, insisting they attend school or vocational training. In partnership with LifeLine Network International and in particular its Director John Singleton, the project grew and became a beacon of hope in a desperate situation.
Richard Cole firmly believed that the boys he adopted into his family, those who many thought could never have a future, would one day begin to rebuild Sierra Leone. This is why he named the work, Nehemiah Project, citing the biblical story of Nehemiah, who was key in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem post war in the second half of the 5th century BC.
Sadly Reverend Cole passed away in 2006, but his legacy lives on. Currently operating under the leadership of the same boys Richard adopted into his family, the Nehemiah Project still operates in Sierra Leone: Developing business; Changing Communities; Building a Nation.
LifeLine Nehemiah Projects is an NGO registered in Sierra Leone and a member of LifeLine Network International, a UK Registered Charity No. 1134473