It has been quite the year. For the children and staff in Sierra Leone it has been the year of Ebola. Although our children have all survived the epidemic, ALL of them have suffered in a myriad of ways. ALL of them have missed an entire year of school (they are only back to school in the past month or so), and their lives have been traumatized and changed in many ways.
Imagine living with the fear of Ebola just outside the gates of your home. Many Ebola victims were on the same street as the Children’s Center. The screams of emergency sirens every few minutes because of Ebola victims has been a constant back drop to their lives for the past year. The normal and nurturing interaction of hugs and even pats on the back to help children grow, has been stunted. Staff, who come and go from the Children’s Center, have had to forego the hugs as a way of keeping the children safe. But how do you explain that to a three-year-old? Some of the children have lost their parents, but, truthfully, there isn’t one person in Sierra Leone who hasn’t been deeply affected by the Ebola crisis. It has set the country back as much, or even more than, the decade-long civil war. The actual toll on the future generation of Sierra Leone is still to unfold.
So where are we now? Thankfully, despite all the challenges, the kids are strong, bright, healthy and doing well at this time. We are grateful to have made it through and hope for better months and years ahead.
Although Ebola has faded from the global headlines, it is very much still a major crisis in Sierra Leone. So far, our children and staff our safe, but the costs of goods because of inflation and scarcity, has wrecked havoc on our budget. We are concerned about being able to continue to care for the children without more assistance from our wonderful donors. Thank you for helping us so far, but please consider making another gift today!
Conditions in Sierra Leone are extremely difficult, especially now, and schools have been closed for most of the past year. Schools plan to reopen soon, however, so the children are looking forward to once again getting an education.
The number of orphans needing assistance is rising. Many children have now been orphaned by Ebola and are also being shunned by their communities. The need for our care is even more urgent now, but we can't do it without your help!
I want to let you know that the children and staff at All As One are still Ebola-free at this time. We have worked hard on keeping the staff and children safe, but it is still a very difficult time in Sierra Leone. We’ve lost so many doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to Ebola, and so many people have died throughout the country. The Ebola crisis has set Sierra Leone’s development back for many years to come. There are more orphans now needing help. The need for good medical care is increased. The educational system has been shut down since last summer and many more children are needing educational help. In other words, the need for our work in Sierra Leone is greater now than it was before.
The exciting news, amid all the bad news, is that we are now poised to move 4 habitable containers onto our land just outside Freetown. We are so grateful to Beltship for donating these containers and keeping them safe during the Ebola crisis. We were hoping to move the containers onto the land last summer, but things shifted because of Ebola.
I believe that 2015 will see many changes for Sierra Leone, All As One, and our building plans – changes that are desperately needed. Thank you so much for being part of making a difference for so many! You are terrific!
As always, we need your continued support and help! Thank you so much!