ABOUT US


FINAZA


The Finaza Foundation is committed to the enrichment of impoverished children’s lives in Kono, Sierra Leone. Finaza provides primary school scholarships for deserving children, and produces an annual community building soccer tournament. By collaborating with worldwide partners and organizations, which are also dedicated to the enhancement of underdeveloped communities in need, Finaza helps to build and sustain worldwide attention on the problems of Kono and looks to develop new programs that will help cultivate, enrich and sustain the lives of the Kono people.


In its three years of operation, Finaza Foundation has evolved into a trusted and reliable non-governmental organization (NGO) for the people of Kono. The emotional reaction to the organization’s annual soccer tournament and academic scholarships, from the children, the parents and the various chiefdoms in the region far exceeded Finaza’s expectations.


Finaza’s future plans are to increase humanitarian efforts in theKono region by supporting schools with computer labs and media centers; by developing educational and health programs; by providing opportunities for children to participate in global student exchange programs;by providing increasing infrastructure through the building of parks, schools, and recreational facilities; and ultimately by teaching sustainable living and a means of economic growth.


THE NAME “FINAZA”


We were looking to create a name for our organization that had meaning and meant something. A name that spoke to what we were looking to accomplish and a name that would resonate with people everywhere.  We also wanted the name to come from the Sierra Leonean people who had meant so much to the founding of the organization. We charged ourselves with the awesome task of searching for it.  We called on our Sierra Leonean friends and colleagues and requested they look for names that represented hope, promise, inspiration, growth, and development. Over a period of four months, we got tons of names – all of which were either too difficult to pronounce or just didn’t resonate powerfully. Then one day, we received a phone call from our good friend Mohammed in Sierra Leone and he rattled off a few names through phone-filled static reception.  One of the names was Finaza. It struck a chord and we asked him the meaning. He told us it meant “development for tomorrow.”  We rejoiced.  It was perfect!!  We asked him to repeat it several times as to get the spelling correct and he obliged. 


Several months later, now in Sierra Leone, while traveling to the Kono district to host our first Finaza soccer tournament, Mohammed asked, “Where did you find the name Finaza?” We were shocked and replied, “What do you mean?  You gave it to us over the phone.” Mohammed replied, “No, I didn’t say Finaza, I said Shanava.”  In unison, we exclaimed “Shanava!” The whole car broke out laughing. In fact, we are still laughing to this day.


The name is completely created and comes out of the ether - an element with it’s own dimension for creation.


So, for us, Finaza will always mean “creating something out of no-where and no-thing.”  It has become our mantra, our inspiration, our focus and our belief system.

MISSION STATEMENT


The  Finaza Foundation is  commited to  the  enrichment of impoverished  children’s  lives  living  in  the  Kono  region  of  Sierra  Leone  by  leading  them  out of  the  blood  diamond  mines,  into  the  classrooms  and  onto  the  soccer  fields,  a  world  where  children  belong.   
 
We  believe  all  children  deserve  a  fighting chance  to  live their  lives with  dignity. One  of  our  primary  philosophies is  to  let  them be  children  again. Through  the  schools  we  sponsor,  our  academic  scholarships, and  our  Annual  Spread The Love Soccer Tournament we  drive the  children toward  positive  experiences  that  instill  hope,  faith  and  pride in  their  hearts and  ultimately drive  them toward better  opportunities. 
 
Driven by our  compassion for  young  people, we  seek  worldwide support  to  transforms communities  into  safe  and  nurturing environments  for  all  children.  The  global  partnerships  we  create,  the  knowledge  we  share  and  the  infrastructure  we  build  leaves  a  legacy  that  lives  well  beyond  our  contributions,  making  a  lasting difference in our world. 
 
 Our impact is felt not just through the children we help, but through the daily transformation of donors,   volunteers and  staff as we fulfill our shared vision and see immediate, life-changing results.  
 
We believe HOPE is the greatest weapon of all.    

OUR HISTORY


Founded in 2009 by documentarian AdisaSepturi and photojournalist Michael Caulfield, the Finaza Foundation officially took flight in February of that year with its inaugural “Spread The Love” soccer tournament in Kono, Sierra Leone. The tournament afforded an opportunity for hundreds of Konochildren, who work year-round in the region’s diamond mines, to participate and compete over several weeks. The event so galvanized the children, elders, chiefs and community at large, that Finaza expanded its efforts by providing scholarships to the participating children to cover their tuition costs for one year in school.


The dream was ignited in May of 2006, when the project’s founders AdisaSepturi and Michael Caulfield had the good fortune of working on a documentary in Sierra Leone directed by veteran actor/activist Isaiah Washington. They had read about Sierra Leone before going, however, no amount of research or planning could have prepared them for what they saw when they arrived in the capital city, Freetown.


Over five years removed from war, the country is still in the process of recovery. According to the United Nations, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest nations on earth; the average family has a per capita income of less than $300 a year. Most earn a fraction of that. Sierra Leone’s schools are over-crowded and desperately under-funded. The basic necessities in the daily lives of Americans, such as clean water, electricity, working toilets, antibiotics and toothbrushes are not readily available. By seeing extreme levels of poverty first hand, Adisa and Michael were inspired into action.


In the Kono region, also known as the mining district, you can always hear the sounds of the village children laughing and playing. The schools in the area have some of Sierra Leone’s brightest and most promising children, but most students cannot afford the annual tuition fees which essentially amount to $30.00 (USD). With their indomitable spirit, the children are so enthusiastic to learn, they typically walk distances up to seven (7) miles each way to attend school.


The Finaza Foundation’s commitment and mission is to provide the Konochildren of Sierra Leone an opportunity for a better life. Through generous support, donations and in-kind services, the Finaza Foundation seeks to build on its impassioned efforts in this much overlooked region.