In Sierra Leone, progress is being made in the fight against Ebola. Day after day, new cases are declining: as of 14 April, seven out of 14 districts had gone for 42 consecutive days without recording new Ebola cases.
Though the outlook is hopeful, survivors of the disease – particularly children who are now orphans – face challenges reintegrating into normal life. In Kenema district, WFP provides food to the Kambui Advocacy Group for Women and Children (KAGWC) to support 50 Ebola-orphaned children while they are undergoing social counselling.
Center Helps Rebuild Young Lives
Janet and Princess are twin sisters. They are only ten years old, but they have big dreams. Janet wants to be a lawyer, and Princess hopes to become a nurse to take care of children and underprivileged people in her community. That way, says Princess, she can follow in her father’s footsteps. Before he contracted Ebola, he was a lab technician at Kenema hospital. He and his wife both passed away from Ebola, leaving behind six children. Now, they receive support at Kambui Child Advocacy Group for Women and Children’s Center.
Osman, 9, likes to play football. He said that his dream when he grows up is to become a teacher and help children in his community. His father was a security guard working at the Kenema hospital when he contracted Ebola. At the Kambui Center, Osman said, he is happy because he can play freely with other children without people in the community pointing fingers at him as an Ebola survivor.
Domane Tamba (13,) and Mariama Sidibe (8,) help each other in a drawing exercise. They came from two different areas of the country, but their stories are similar. Domane lost both parents to Ebola in Panguma (Lower Bambara chiefdom) and had been living with her grandmother before she was taken to the Kambui orphanage. Mariama’s parents died from Ebola in Gorama-Mende chiefdom and she had been living with her aunt. Since January 2015, both children have been receiving social counseling support along with 48 other Ebola-orphaned children.
Food and Social Support Restore Hope
The centre is also home to vulnerable women and girls who have been affected by Ebola, like Betty Jaward,14. An Ebola survivor, the young girl contracted the disease from her mother, who was a nurse. Following the death of her parents, Betty and her two sisters moved to their grandmother’s house. To make ends meet, she used to sell fresh vegetables. But she soon had to halt her business because people in her neighborhood were reluctant to buy her food: many people feared they would contract Ebola by coming in close contact with her. Betty is happy to be at the Kambui Center, where she receives WFP food and social support. Now she wants to go back to school so that she can fulfill her dream of being a doctor for her community.
WFP assistance at Kambui Advocacy Center aims to meet the basic food and nutrition needs of vulnerable children whose parents or caretakers died of Ebola. The food basket includes cereals, beans, vegetable oil and Supercereal, a blended nutritious food, to provide the children with three meals a day.
Volunteers like Seyia play a vital role at the Kambui Advocacy Center. With support from WFP and the Ministry of Social Welfare, they organize cooking, cleaning and counseling services for the Ebola-orphaned children.