The 1990s war in Sierra Leone left behind many War Widows who, homeless, found themselves at the Grafton Camp for Displaced people. The late Rev. Fr. Joseph Berton came into contact with these widows in 2006 when he and some of his workers in the Family Homes Movement administrative office visited them at the Grafton Camp. Fr Berton invited them to participate in all FHM religious activities. He counselled them that, even in the difficult situation of single parents in the war torn country, they could play full parts in the Family of Christians.
Fr Berton told the staff of FHM that the War Widows “have lost their husbands and properties, they are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Their living conditions in the displaced camp at Grafton are inhuman and deplorable. We need to do help them in our way.”
Fr Berton’s “way” of helping was to try to provide decent accommodation for the Widows and their children. He bought a 10 acre piece of land at Kowama, 20 km from the capital Freetown. He then proposed a low cost housing project with locally made materials as a permanent solution to the housing condition of the widows. This led to the commencement of the construction of two houses with funds from private donors in Italy. Unfortunately, the construction of these houses came to a halt due to the ill health of Fr. Berton and his eventual departure from Sierra Leone.
His vision to permanently settle these unfortunate widows has still not been realized as the houses are currently unfinished; through FHM his dream still remains active.