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Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief

by Kidsave International
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
Kidsave Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Relief
A granddaughter and grandmother, reunited.
A granddaughter and grandmother, reunited.

In 2014 the Ebola crisis ripped through Sierra Leone. The world responded, contained the virus and left, leaving thousands of children orphaned in Ebola Care Centers and orphanages. These children have been living without hope of ever seeing family again.  

Kidsave is working to help these children rebuild their lives, ideally with extended family in their villages, or with new families when reunification is not possible. In 2017 Kidsave helped 101 children return to family life. Most of the children, 66%, were moved into the homes of relatives or family friends. An additional 26% were placed directly into new families.  

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries on earth. Yet families, often women, are opening their homes to these children. However, their economic situations are such that feeding and educating an extra child can cause additional stress. Consequently Kidsave is implementing a microlending program for women businesses owners who have taken in children and are at the most risk.  

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Mudslide? No Obstacle to Checking on Orphans Reunited with Families

A devastating mudslide in August did not deter Martin, a Kidsave intern and Sierra Leonean student, from to visiting children reunified with their biological family members or placed in host or foster care families, to check on their happiness and adjustment. Sixty-five orphaned children were placed in the past few months with families, and now 14 more have been reunified with family members through Kidsave’s Sierra Leone program.

This was the first group the Sierra Leonean government asked Kidsave to help reunify in the Bo and Kenema districts. Now Kidsave is at work to reunify the second group of 65 with family members, or find new families for them if no immediate relatives can take them in. While new placements are ongoing, we continue to monitor and report on the conditions of the 65 placed children from the first group.

Kidsave social workers met in July with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs in both Bo and Kenema districts to be sure our work is culturally suitable and keep ties and communication strong with local child welfare staff.

Kidsave’s recently launched campaign called “Empower Moms,” will empower a working mother to support her family for a year with a grant of $75. We are able to help 114 families this way. Since women are most often the primary caregivers Kidsave is creating a sustainable economic strengthening model to help them improve their livelihoods.

Kidsave is also developing training documents that address the program in totality and fit Sierra Leone’s culture and norms. The goal is to develop a model that can be used and implemented by local professionals to safely place children from institutions in stable and permanent homes. The model is intended to serve host families, trainers and local NGOs and have a significant positive impact on the lives of many orphaned youth.

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My name is Alix Halloran and I am GlobalGiving's Field Traveler in West Africa. For the past three months, I have been traveling around West Africa, meeting with GlobalGiving's nonprofit partners. I was very excited to meet with the Kidsave International team in Sierra Leone a few weeks ago. I was moved by the work that they are doing to change the lives of children in Sierra Leone.

 

Ebola had a crippling effect on so many aspects of life in Sierra Leone. Even though the epidemic is over, the country is still working to recover. One particularly devastating consequence of the outbreak is that many children lost their parents to the disease. Kidsave International is working to provide loving homes for these children and other children who have been abandoned or neglected.

 

I was so impressed by the Kidsave team because they go the extra mile towards helping these kids. Kidsave International identifies children who have lost parents and are in need of a loving home. They work hand in hand with local government ministries to find permanent families for the children, either by reuniting them with extended family members or finding caring community members. Kidsave International knows that children will be happiest and healthiest if they grow up surrounded by community and family. Meeting with these families and talking to them about their experiences was the highlight of my visit.

 

I am so thankful for all of Kidsave's donors who support this amazing work and I am excited to see the continued impact that Kidsave International will have on communities in Sierra Leone.

 

Baby Jonathan is happy and healthy with Kidsave!
Baby Jonathan is happy and healthy with Kidsave!
Momoh has such a tight bond with his new mom Wuya
Momoh has such a tight bond with his new mom Wuya
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Paul  is now reunited with his grandmother.
Paul is now reunited with his grandmother.

“Social worker-sleuth” ought to be the job title of Kidsave’s team in Sierra Leone, working to reunite children orphaned by Ebola with family members.  Take the case of Paul, a 11-year-old who has spent the last 2.5 years in an orphanage in Pujehun. 

Orphanage records offered a clue – the last known village of his family: Dumagbe.  Social workers travelled by motor bike 46 km to Dumagbe, found the village head and showed him Paul’s photo. Cautious and hesitant to give them information, however, he sent them to another village 8 km away – accessible only on a foot path – a two-hour walk.  There, they found a family member who knew Paul and helped find his grandmother, Rachael, who took him in to live with her.

In the case of Betty, her family’s last known home was Koribondo, 18 km from her orphanage in Bo. Arriving in Koribondo, social workers learned that the family had moved to Kenema, another 24 km away. But this time, they were able to obtain direct contact information for her grandmother in Kenema, who agreed to take her into her home.

Paul and Betty were happy to be back with their grandmothers in their families and villages.

Kidsave’s team of three social workers, Edifra, Smith and Christopher, have reunited 50 children with family members over the last year and placed 16 children in non-kin homes where a kin-placement was not possible.  In those cases, Kidsave hosted activities at which orphans and families interested in helping the kids met and began to get to know one another.  Through these events and careful vetting Kidsave is giving orphaned children a good family and a real future. 

This work relies on donations to Kidsave. Working with our partners, we are now focusing on a second group of 65 Ebola orphans, hoping to find them families over the next six months and developing a Family Economic Strengthening program to insure families who need help can maintain the child in their home.

We appreciate your help!  

$25 will help provide food for a community gathering to help children who can’t be reunified meet interested families.

 $115 will pay for one child’s bed kit (a mattress, sheets, pillow and toiletries).

 $325 will help one child move into a family.

 $1,000 will help ten children find their biological relatives and reunite. 

Kidsave helped Betty  find her grandma.
Kidsave helped Betty find her grandma.

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    Bockarie Samuels and his grandmother Marie Koroma
    Bockarie Samuels and his grandmother Marie Koroma

    When he was 12, Bockarie lost both parents to the Ebola crisis. He languished in an orphanage for almost two years; during that time no one reached out to help him. Over the past few months, Kidsave searched for Bockarie’s grandmother and recently reunited them. Bockarie has now moved in with his grandmother permanently.

    Kidsave in Sierra Leone is rescuing children, including Bockarie, who have been languishing in orphanages since the Ebola crisis, and many happy reunions are occurring in Puejehun and Bo as a result of this work.

    Kidsave’s focus in Sierra Leone is twofold -- searching for biological or extended families for children who have lost one or both parents to Ebola, and if a child cannot be reunified with family members who knew and loved them, then finding a good local host family to advocate for the child, get him or her out of the orphanage and on the path to a permanent loving family.

    A total of 22 children were reunited with their families in December and January. Many tears of joy were shed as children saw their aunts, uncles and grandmothers for the first time in two years during the reunification process.  The Christmas holidays were also an opportunity for the children who could not be reunified with their biological families to meet families in the community interested in helping them. At the beginning of March five families had signed up to be foster parents for these children.

    Kidsave Sierra Leone needs support. We have a group of 65 children in our control group whom the government is asking to participate in the reunification program, as our efforts have proven successful.  We need $30,000 in funding to help these 65 children.

     $25 will help provide food for a community gathering to meet the children
     $115 will pay for one child’s bed kit – a mattress, sheets, pillow and toiletries.
     $325 will help one child move into a family.
     $1,000 will help ten children find their biological relatives and reunite.

    Uma and Zainab Monson
    Uma and Zainab Monson
    Some of the orphans at the reunification event.
    Some of the orphans at the reunification event.
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    Organization Information

    Kidsave International

    Location: Culver City, CA - USA
    Website:
    Facebook: Facebook Page
    Twitter: @KidsaveRussia
    Project Leader:
    Bonnie Williams
    Washington, DC United States

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