Chief Christopher with Kinny and Dadhdy.
Sierra Leone recently suffered a daunting setback in its quest to reach zero Ebola cases. With the reported death of a woman and the subsequent infection of her daughter in Kambia District, the northern village of Sella Kafta has been put under strict quarantine in order to stem a possible resurgent tide of the virus.
For the rest of the country the news has been more hopeful. In Kenema, one of our areas of operation and one of the hardest hit by Ebola, not a single case has been reported in over 200 days. With the invisible danger seemingly gone, the city market is once again a busy and vibrant scene. Now neighbor greets neighbor without the hesitation and fear that has characterized the past year.
Christopher, a local Kenema chief and his wife Adama have taken in 9 children orphaned by Ebola. They met four of the children, Sallay (9), Fatmata (15), and brothers Kinny (8) and Dadhdy (14), at a local Kidsave event.
When asked where these children would be without his help and the program he replied, “They most likely could not have survived. Something very bad would have happened.” As he walked to his home several of his newly adopted children followed him holding his hand and calling him “Dad.”
Shed Jah, the founder of VCI and Kidsave Sierra Leone’s country director gives thanks to you, the donor, for the improvement in these children’s lives. In his most recent report he states, “The children are doing very well despite what they have been going through. Thanks to our supporters for helping us care especially for the Ebola orphans. Together we helped them survive.”
With great excitement Kidsave Sierra Leone also reports the arrival and deployment of our newest and largest team member. Weighing in at an impressive three tons and always willing to carry the weight of others, our 2010 Toyota Four-Runner has increased both the reach and capacity of the Sierra Leone program.
Shed Jah, wasted no time in putting the vehicle to good use. From transporting Kidsave families in need of medical care to the medical center, to helping Kidsave families transport their goods from market, to traveling to strategy meetings with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children Affairs in both Freetown (the capitol) and the district office in Bo, the vehicle has had little time to rest.
As the program moves forward, key needs have been identified and are being addressed. With the lifting of quarantines in several of the program’s operational areas, Kidsave and VCI are moving to redouble efforts at family tracing and reintegration (FTR).
These original efforts were hampered by restrictions to movement and the justifiable fears of remote villagers to interacting with outsiders. In the coming weeks the program plans to bring three extra social workers aboard to help not only in the FTR efforts, but also to offer effective help to the orphans trying to cope with the extreme trauma of losing their families.
As Kidsave Sierra Leone and VCI continue our important projects on the front lines of the Ebola recovery effort, we hope that you will continue to spread the word and support us as we work to help some of the most vulnerable children affected by this crisis.
Shed Jah delivers supplies to a Kidsave family
A Kidsave mother in Kenema