top of page
  • Writer's pictureKay Sandberg

Meet RHCI's Remarkable Founder, Dreaming to Return to Sierra Leone!

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

Alice Karpeh, Founder Rural Health Care Initiative, SL

Alice Karpeh was born in Tikonko (rural Sierra Leone) and trained as a midwife in Liberia. In 1993, at the outbreak of Sierra Leone’s civil war, Alice’s husband was ambushed and killed, and she was granted US asylum. Arriving with nine children and no resources, Alice made her way to Philadelphia and later to Minnesota where she worked for many years as a nurse at the University of Minnesota Boynton Health Service. She always kept her dream of returning to help the women and children in her village of Tikonko, many of whom she had seen die in childbirth or early childhood.

In 2011, with the help of Minnesotans and Sierra Leonean Americans, Alice founded Rural Health Care Initiative (RHCI) as a nonprofit in Minnesota and a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) in Sierra Leone. RHCI collaborates with the local rural communities to advance community health and to combat one of the world’s highest maternal and child death rates. Under Alice's guidance, RHCI built a 24 bed Birth Waiting Home and started motorbike outreach clinics to 8 villages.

Alice has retired as RHCI’s Executive Director, but continues to advise the board, promote awareness, and fundraise. In 2023, Alice plans to return to her village of Tikonko and live there permanently in a home she has built. Through her vision and dream, the maternal and child mortality rate in the Tikonko Chiefdom has gone down and the lives of thousands of families have improved. To learn more about Alice's story and RHCI:

Alice Karpeh, An Inspiration to All!

Alice shares some milestones of 2022 and how you can support Rural Health Care Initiative's work:

*Having over 10,000 touch-points in caring for mothers, babies, and children

*Increasing medical care for children ages 0-10, up from 0-5 coverage last year

*President of Sierra Leone visited their facilities in November and thanked the staff for their life-saving service at Birth Waiting Homes; "proves that the work we are doing matters".

Sierra Leone President w/ Staff at Birth Waiting Home

Alice: "We are still in need of your support. The reality is that women are dying from childbirth every day. But with your support, we will continue service to women and children, dramatically reducing maternal deaths. I encourage you to partner with us, saving lives one day at a time."

Thanks to Carol Nelson, Program Director for your help with the blog!

With love as the force,




bottom of page