Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hope for the Orphans of Ebola

Over the weekend, I read an article about a little four year-old girl called "Sweetie Sweetie" (her real name remains a mystery) who lost both her parents and her sister to Ebola in Sierra Leone.  In the article, it said that she was living in an interim care center (ICC) with other Ebola orphans, all of the waiting out a 21-day quarantine to see whether or not they, too, contracted the disease.  Because Ebola spreads so easily, many of the children are stigmatized as dangerous and therefore are not taken in by relatives when their parents die.   At ICCs (of which there are many for the estimated 10,000 orphans), Ebola survivors trained by organizations like UNICEF look after orphans and monitor them for Ebola symptoms.

Credits to Daniel Berehulak, The New York Times
Anyway, I was really touched by Sweetie Sweetie's story.  She cared for her mother as she died, telling her stories and trying to feed her, and I was really happy this morning when I saw a Child Fund report saying that Sweetie Sweetie was not only free of Ebola but that she had also been adopted by a health care worker who had cared for her mother.  Sadly, though, eight other orphans do have Ebola, and there are still thousands of others in quarantine.
The reason I post about this today is that I am incredibly moved by the heartbreaking stories of the Ebola orphans.  They've suffered through things many people cannot even possibly begin to fathom, and I think that even just reading about their unimaginable struggles really helps to put things into perspective.  They've lost so much, yet they continue to have hope, and it's important to raise awareness about their situation.  If anyone wants more info on these babies/how they can help them, you can go to https://www.childfund.org/Ebola_Emergency/ or www.unicef.org/emergencies/ebola/
<3 Frances 

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