Enabling opportunities for persons affected by leprosy, persons with disabilities, women/children and members from vulnerable and marginalized communities to lead a better quality of Life
AIFO, Liberia is a professional non-profit health and development organization that enables opportunities for persons affected by leprosy, persons with disabilities, women, children and members of poor and vulnerable groups, through focused healthcare, education and economic empowerment initiatives in Liberia with the aim of providing a better quality of life and creating large scale positive change.
Our Core values are built on expanding opportunities creating an inclusive world where underserved populations such as people affected by leprosy, people with disabilities and women and children, enjoy equal rights and privileges.
Inclusiveness – We are committed to engaging, supporting and recognizing the values of all members of society, regardless of race, religion, gender, nationality, ethnicity, age, physical or mental ability, socio economic status and geography.
Integrity – We value transparency and accountability in all our professional work, with clear policies and procedures while displaying the utmost level of honesty in our financial dealings.
Effectiveness – We value efficiency and excellence in our work, constantly challenging ourselves to perform better, explore new opportunities and meet and exceed programme targets and to improve and deepen the impact of our interventions.
Innovation – We have been at the forefront of innovations to eliminate leprosy and disability, partnering with organizations that have shown commitment and dedication to using new and innovative methods of solving these challenges. We value creativity and inclusiveness in programme design and development.
Born in 1903 in Nevers (France), Raoul Follereau seemed set for a life as a writer and poet with the publication of his first volume, The book of love, when he was only 17 years old. His career as writer and poet and subsequent marriage to Madeleine Boudou at 22 continued on the conventional path.
But, in 1936, the course of this sensitive writer’s life changed dramatically to that of a great social reformer. A routine assignment through an Argentine newspaper to the Sahara region brought him face to face with leprosy-affected persons for the first time. The strong social discrimination meted out against these unfortunate people, set Follereau on a crusade against this discrimination. Over the next ten years, he traveled the world many times, holding 1200 conferences which allowed him to support the building of Adzope`in Ivory Coast, the town of leprosy affected persons.
What began there, spread into a strong campaign to free them from the segregation imposed by society for centuries. Not confining himself to mere speech, Follereau set an example, visiting them and embracing them to promote the idea that leprosy affected persons are human beings. To him goes the credit of establishing the World Leprosy Day, observed even today in most countries in the world on the last Sunday of January each year.
Exactly thirty years later, in 1966, his initiative resulted in the setting up of ELEP (European Federation for the associations working against leprosy). Later on, it became international and came to be known as ILEP, a federation of major anti-leprosy organizations).
In 1975, he submitted the text of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Leprosy Affected Persons to United Nations. Follereau died in Paris in 1977 on December 6, but his work lives on through organizations all over the world which call themselves ‘Friends’ of Raoul Follereau. AIFO work in Liberia is an attempt to translate this doctrine into reality. We call ourselves ‘Amici di Raoul Follereau’, which means ‘Friends of Raoul Follereau’.