CDPeace is a Canadian international organization working in Sierra Leone, West Africa as part of the rebuilding process. Primary areas of focus are education, health, micro finance, woman’s programs, agricultural and community development and the support and reintegration of former child soldiers. These programs are developed on a foundation of sustainability, peaceful resolution, and community/individual empowerment.
From 1991 - 2002, the country experienced one of the most violent conflicts in West African History. Over fifty thousand people were brutally killed, half a million lived as refugees and two million were internally displaced. Over 10,000 children were kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers and both rural and urban infrastructure were destroyed.
It is against this background in 2007 that I began working in conjunction with the Centre for Development and Peace education (cdpeace) on multiple projects.
Sherry has consulted on many of our projects. She continues advising our Board of Directors. She has managed; overseen and facilitated the procurement of educational; building; medical equipment; and the international shipping of this product to Sierra Leone in support of the work of cdpeace. She has photographed and documented programs; impact; process; conditions and work. Sherry’s visual documentation tells the story of our people and communities that is difficult to put into words. Her images capture the resilience; hope and beauty of the people in their simple lives and also show the needs in a country that was destroyed by 11 years of war.
Sherry’s work has been a significant support to our programming; development; fundraising and in our marketing and awareness work. It has created great awareness about the people of Sierra Leone especially in the Communities of Gbonkolenken and Paki-Masabon Chiefdoms.
During the war there was a rebel attack against the village of Mathombo. The village was destroyed; the school set on fire while in session. Many people died. With Sherry's intervention, she created awareness in Canada, about the tragic story of the forgotten Mathombo village. This provided the support required to build and furnish a new school for Mathombo Community. In April 2009, in Sherry's presence, the new school was officially opened and handed over to Mathombo community and the local leaders.
The President of Sierra Leone has one of Sherry’s limited edition prints in his private collection. It is the picture “Makeni Window”. It represents to us the struggle of our family; our country and our people because of the war and our hope for humanity.
We have been deeply affected; touched and captivated by Sherry’s work and photographs.— Dr. Thomas Turay PHD and Mary Turay, Co-Founders cdpeace