Founder & Director
Bala is originally from Sri Lanka and immigrated to Sierra Leone as a teenager prior to founding Tacugama. The origins of Tacugama started as far back as 1985 when Bala Amarasekaran and his wife, Sharmila, were travelling through a village 150 miles from Freetown. There they came across a weak baby chimpanzee tied to a tree in need of medical help. Bala and Sharmila bought the chimpanzee for $20 and named him Bruno. Before long, they had 7 rescued chimpanzees in their house and they needed to establish a permanent solution for their growing family. Since then, Tacugama has grown into the diverse organization it is today. Bala is still at the helm as director, and is at the sanctuary almost every day overseeing the larger operations and making sure all runs smoothly. When he is not at the sanctuary, he is often meeting with government and other officials in town, developing and maintaining relationships with our communities and assisting with our outreach projects, travelling for conferences and workshops, or spending time with his family. The work never ends, but that's what keeps the team going!