The Team

Local Project Manager, Minkailu Bantama (Mallam), works with the community, local chiefs and district health officials to prioritise the needs, organise the work required and oversee the projects. Our S4LA team is committed to funding the projects and supporting Mallam and the people of Yiben to progress with their development goals.

We thank our generous, volunteers, sponsors and supporters for helping to improve lives in Yiben and the surrounding communities. 


Mallam is a Salone national and a member of the Fula tribe, renowned for their organisational skills and values. He lives in the small township of Kafogo Kasunko, two kilometres from Fadugu and four hours walk from Yiben.

Mallam is a dedicated friend and tireless advocate for Yiben. He has strived for education and healthcare for the people of this remote area since 2006. He has inspired the support of friends in the UK and Australia and worked closely with Yiben’s Chief Bangalie and their Mammy Queen Serah to bring their dreams of a school and health clinic to reality. He continues to work with traditional and political leaders and ministry officials to ensure that the facilities and services develop to national standards.

Previously, Mallam has worked with the World Bank as an interpreter and guide for the local area and with Care International as an outreach health worker. Currently he is a voluntary community health worker at Fadugu and co-ordinates the health workers’ team. He is also the treasurer of Friends of Kasunko a voluntary group raising funds to establish a community radio station located in Fadugu. This will serve an area, including Yiben, where there is currently little communication with the outside world.

The son of a chief, Mallam was recently appointed as a Section Chief for his local area in recognition of his family tradition, contribution to development and personal capacities.

Read more about the Friends of Kasunko

KBKaren Blackburn
Early Childhood, Primary, Special Ed and ESL teacher, world traveller who has taught in Canada, Germany and Italy, S4LA President.
Jude Coates
Retired primary teacher, resource and curriculum specialist, friend and 'Mum' to Yiben since 2011, S4LA Admin Manager.
Rita O’Neill
Retired secondary teacher, extra-curricular volunteer, community arts leader, S4LA Fundraising & Promotion.
Cann Taylor
Special Education Teacher for early years, primary & secondary students, specialising in visual, multiple and intellectual disabilities with current interest in music therapy. S4LA Vice-President.
imageJames Lindsay
Economist, software engineer and IT specialist, S4LA Website Manager.
imageAmy Coates
Nurse, midwife and public health strategist, works for WHO in Geneva, experienced in health development in Sierra Leone, S4LA Consultant.

More about Gympie…