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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
Some of the 24 orphans at reunification ceremony.
Some of the 24 orphans at reunification ceremony.

The Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone is over but the devastation remains. Children are still suffering.  First taken to Ebola Care Centers by ambulances with their ailing parents, some children were sick with the virus too, yet many survived one or both parents and remained in interim care centers and orphanages.  It is estimated that over 11,000 children were impacted by Ebola and that about half still remain in institutional care in spite of having living relatives.  Tragically, many orphanages have used the children as the focus of fundraising efforts to help attract funding to keep the institution alive, rather than find families for them. 

Kidsave and its partner help identify extended family members of children from institutions that seeks to move the children into homes.  In November 24 children and their siblings had emotional reunions with relatives who had agreed to take them in.  Postive conversations were held with relatives of many other children to explore their interest in taking the children in to become part of their families. 

In spite of the large numbers of children being reunified there are also children whose biological families could not be located or do not exist.  For these children a hosting program has been launched, starting with a community football event to attract families interested in having the children as guests in their homes for weekends and holidays, as a bridge to finding the children permanent families. Through advertisements on the radio 150 interested host families attended the football party and 15 stepped forward to learn more about hosting. 

Kidsave and its partner are thrilled at the reception the biological families are giving the children. Haja Bellay, one relative of Abu Seseye and his siblings exclaimed after their reunification ceremony, “Today I fulfilled the promise I made to Abu’s parents when they were loaded in the ambulance and taken to Kenema.  They never returned.   I said I would take full responsibility of Abu and his siblings.  Now I will care for them.  They will live with my family and meet their education and health needs.”

The program faces several challenges, including poor roads between communities, the high cost of transporting children, difficulties finding extended family, and insufficient funds to hold more activities to attract families that might adopt or permanently foster the children, in cases where no extended family members exist.

This reunification/adoption effort has gained important support from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) and the village chiefs.  At collaborative planning meetings with the MWSGCA, several chiefs pledged their support of these efforts and promised to make sure that adopted children go to school, are not taken advantage of, and are raised in a loving family. 

Kidsave has identified 325 children in more than 5 institutions in Pujehun and Bo who need support to move into family care. The Ebola crisis continues.

Kidsave’s work is made possible entirely by donors.  Financial support allows us to train and hire social workers, provide the people and technology to identify, train and monitor the families and ensure the children move into and remain in safe and stable homes.  Each child also receives a bed kit to take with them into to their new home. As conditions in many of the orphanages are deteriorating, the course of children’s lives are often dramatically improved by having the opportunity to grow up in a family.   

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Dear GlobalGiving Friends,
Attached is our emailed report as I am out of the country.  I hope you can work with this.  Please confirm receipt.
Terry
With the advent of a new partner we have been doing intensive training to insure that the Kidsave Family Visit Model protocol is adhered to and that all child welfare procedures are followed.   Training emphasis has been placed on hosting and how hosting visits will coordinate with school sessions and school vacations, making appropriate decisions about family placement, the opportunity presented by village savings and loan programs and reporting.
An updated home study guide was created with the approval of Catholic Relief Services.  The Kidsave Team worked with the CRS traditional home evaluation tool and then  enhanced it to address more challenges that might arise when making decisions about safe places for children in  temporary host placements and permanent family placements.
Additionally the Pujehun Team participated in training to on income generation programs and revolving loans and savings plans.  It's a great challenge to determine how best to provide family support to families who care about taking in children to nurture them as compared to taking in children for financial gain.  The project team has been wrestling these issues while they identify children and make plans for family searching and community recruitment events.   (SEE PHOTO ENDING IN 45, 40, 15 and 68).  
Intensive search has begun for extended family members of children who have been left in Ebola Care Centers and plans are being laid for FID's first community event.  
A new group of 16 children near Bo have been identified with host families.  As school is just starting the host families have committed to supporting the children's school expenses.  A local pre-school opening event launched the children's hosting season.   (SEE PHOTO ENDING IN 01).  Children taking time for a bit of lunch during the first Kidsave event.  Fifteen of 16 children orphaned by Ebola have host families heading into the new school year.  Recruitment continues for the 16th child.  (SEE PHOTO endng in 31)

 

Terry Baugh
President and Co-Founder - Kidsave

4622 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. Suite 202 | Washington, DC | 20016
Direct: 202-503-3111 | Main Office: 202-503-3100
Video | Donate | Hosting | Meet the Kids | facebook | twitter

 

The information in this email is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. Access to this email by anyone else is unauthorized. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and may be unlawful. Kidsave International is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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A local child who lost their family to Ebola
A local child who lost their family to Ebola

Both the rainy season and Kidsave’s newest project are getting underway in Sierra Leone. Project leader Ibrahim Kawa along with three experienced local social workers (hired in May), have been busily implementing the first stages of the project. Working closely with our U.S. team, the Sierra Leone team has incorporated important local knowledge into the Sierra Leone Family Visit Model protocol. At the same time the Sierra Leonean staff is familiarizing themselves with our mobile app and data collection system.

With a methodology developed in partnership with the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences to qualify outcomes for both the Ebola orphans and families participating in our program, results will be clear, measurable, and aid in building an ever-improving model. Of the currently 245 identified Ebola orphans living in a local interim care center, our current project budget allows us to assist 65 of them to attain the goal of full family integration.

This means that these children who have lost so much will finally have the chance to secure a loving family, a secure home, and get out of institutionalized living. Without your help many of these children would forever reside in an institution.

But there is still so much left to accomplish.

To help further strengthen our earlier and ongoing project’s participating families in Kenema, a week-long intensive training in how to build successful village savings and loan groups is set to be conducted at the end of June.

This method of village savings and loans is a small scale way for local businesswomen and men to pool their savings and reap larger investment opportunities than they would otherwise be able to pursue.

As Sierra Leone and the entire Mono River region struggles to recover from the Ebola epidemic we are thankful for your continued support and donations to help insure that the children who lost everything, including their families, can once again have a loving and secure family enviornment to call home. 

Project social workers practice with the data app
Project social workers practice with the data app

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Ibrahim Kawa meets with program stakeholders
Ibrahim Kawa meets with program stakeholders

While the most serious period of the Ebola Virus outbreak appears to have been contained, the devastating long-term social and economic effects are just beginning to surface. 

To support the Ebola-recovery phase, Kidsave- Sierra Leone is excited to announce an expansion of our program through a new partnership with The Federation for Integrated Development/Sierra Leone (FID).  FID, a local organization founded by Sierra Leoneans with a ten year track record, aims to improve the lives and, “enhance opportunities for Men, Women, Youths and the Elderly living in socio-cultural and economic disadvantage live a better future.”

After identifying an interim care center with a large population of Ebola orphans with no opportunity for reunification with their biological families, FID program coordinator Ibrahim Kawa reached out to Kidsave for assistance. Having heard of Kidsave’s work on behalf of Ebola orphans, he felt that together we could have a profoundly positive impact on the identified children’s lives. We believe combining Kidsave’s innovative Family Visit Model with FID’s expert business training and local know-how will prove a powerful force to help the identified Ebola orphans find permanent families within their communities.

The economic strengthening component of our forthcoming project will offer a leg up to struggling families that open their hearts and homes to these orphans. This component is crucial to help rebuild not only the lives of these orphans, but also their entire community.  As Ibrahim says, “We have found that when we take a ‘two generation approach’, simultaneously addressing the challenges care-giver/parents themselves face and encouraging more interaction between them and the orphan children, we are more successful in improving situations for orphans under learning conditions other than in orphanages where they have very little time for culture and tradition.”

While still in the early design phase, Kidsave has high hopes for the success of our newest project and partnership. As Sierra Leone moves forward from Ebola containment toward recovery, we know that a great deal of work still needs to be done to find permanent loving families for the orphans devastated by this terrible virus. Thank you from all of us at Kidsave, your donations have helped, and continue to help us in our crucial mission to find permanent, loving families for Sierra Leone’s orphans.

We are also excited to let you know that our Sierra Leone project will be a part of GlobalGIving's March 16th bonus day! All donations made to Kidsave projects through GlobalGiving on March 16th will receive pro-rated bonus funds from a $75,000 pool. This means that for every dollar you donate to our life changing programs in Sierra Leone from 9 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. (eastern standard time) an additional donation will be made in your honor by GlobalGiving. As we forge ahead with our programs to help some of the most vulnerable children in the world secure families, mentors, and bright futures we thank you for all you do to make our vital work possible.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or ideas that you might have - kristoffk@kidsave.org

Thank you again,

Kristoff Kohlhagen (Kidsave Africa Programs Manager)    

A FID agricultural project in action
A FID agricultural project in action

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A Kidsave Family in Bo
A Kidsave Family in Bo

Kidsave International and our partners at VCI continue our hard work on behalf of the children and communities most affected by the Ebola crisis. We have continued to increase our capacity and are proud to have welcomed three new social workers into the program. In order to better serve the children and their new, permanent, loving families, Rosamond Coker has come on as our head social worker for the city of Bo, Kadiatu Kallon is our head social worker in Zimmi, and Prince Kanu is heading up our social work in Kenema. Sahadatu (our primary social worker) did a great job of onboarding the new staff and teaching them the Kidsave Family Visit Model protocols.

Deployed several months ago for field tests, all social workers and staff are now using the Kidsave mobile App. The Kidsave mobile App has revolutionized our Sierra Leone program. In a nation where sending an e-mail from the capital city can be difficult, our program, which operates in distant villages needed a reliable way for our partners and volunteers to document progress.

The App, which automatically uploads data when in a Wi-Fi area, is a simple, elegant, and mobile solution that continues to improve our reporting and effectiveness. We now have real-time updates to the permanency status of our program participants and a method for entering those into the system who have been identified as needing assistance.

Even as Sierra Leone moves into the recovery phase of this medical emergency there are still many children who are in desperate need of a family and help. As Shed Jah, VCI’s founder and Kidsave’s country director wrote in a recent e-mail, “In Kenema, three local volunteers identified 2 local rescue center in Tunkia Chiefdom. Fifteen children have been identified from ages 10 - 15; 10 are boys and five are girls. All of the fifteen children have lost both parents during the Ebola crisis and was the cause of residing at the center.” Currently families are being identified for these children.

As we gather together with our families this holiday season please keep in mind those who do not have families of their own and take a moment to truly cherish what it means to both give and receive love from those most important to you. As Kidsave and VCI continue to work to find local families for those who have lost so much, you should know that is has been your generous donation that has allowed our work to continue.

In order to help facilitate our ongoing work with Ebola recovery, GlobalGiving has also announced that all donations to our project up to $1,000 before the New Year will be matched as long as funds remain. Please share our project with anyone you believe might be interested and also feel free to contact me with any questions or ideas that you might have at: Kristoffk@kidsave.org

We at Kidsave want to thank you and wish you a wonderful new year.

Thank you again,

Kristoff Kohlhagen

Sahadatu (center) meets with families in Kenema.
Sahadatu (center) meets with families in Kenema.
Kidsave Kids enjoying themselves at an event
Kidsave Kids enjoying themselves at an event

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Organization Information

Kidsave International

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

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