Hawa Asmahan Sheriff
Founder & CEO
Hawa Asmahan Sheriff is the driving force behind the Ri’ayah Foundation. She is a native Liberian who is determined to improve the living conditions for the people who live there. Hawa lives in Lansdale, PA, with her 10-year-old son. Born on her grandfather’s farm in Liberia in 1980, she was sent out of the country to safety as the Civil War began in 1989. Unable to return home as war continued for 14 long years, she eventually moved with her foster families to the United States.
In 2014, she finally found the courage to return to her homeland, only to find that it was no longer the sweet Liberia of her childhood. Children with torn clothes—who should have been in school—roamed the streets barefooted. Children begged for food or peddled wares on the street to make enough money to buy food for their next meal.
Brokenhearted by what she saw and shocked at the difference in her memories and the reality, Hawa knew someone had to do something to help the children of Liberia. Shouldering the responsibility to help her loved ones and fellow countrymen herself, Hawa didn’t just return to the United States and hope “someone” would help: she became that someone. Out of her determination and desire to help, the Ri’ayah Foundation was born