August 10, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
Caritas Freetown, with support from Healey International Relief Foundation and Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation West Africa, Wednesday, 5 August, 2015 provided clothing support to some 250 Ebola survivors.
The beneficiaries were predominantly female survivors within the Western Rural District with the gesture coming during a psychosocial workshop at Rokel village, outside the capital Freetown. Each of them received Kenneth Cole brand cotton long sleeve tops, plus five packet T-shirts. In total all 250 Ebola survivors received a total of ten shirts.
Receiving the items, Salamatu Kamara of Sima Town expressed thanks and appreciation for the gift and thanked Caritas and partners for their magnanimous support. She said: “We are thankful for these gifts and your visit here today gives us hope that there are people out there who care for us. We pray for God’s guidance over your lives and hope this will not be the last as we continue to go through our daily struggle.”
She added, “We value and treasure these gifts very much and promise that the dresses will be used by us for the intended purposes. We will not put them on sale.”
Speaking earlier, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Caritas Freetown, Grace Jones, admonished the survivors to use the clothes themselves and not sell them for money. “These dresses are meant for you because we believe that apart from food, you also need clothing. With support from our partners it is possible that more of these gifts will continue to be provided as time progresses,” she told the survivors.
Stephen Fomba, Project Manager at Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, encouraged the survivors to live their lives to the best of their abilities, adding that they were real heroines as he enjoined them to continue to stay healthy and avoid risky behaviour.
Fomba assured the women that partners would do their best to provide them with the needed support as and whenever they could. He assured that his organisation would always have them in thought and prayers.
Idriss Gibson Mansaray, Project Manager at Caritas Freetown, in a brief statement said Caritas cares for the survivors, thus the reason for the support. “We will continue to support you with whatever we lay our hands on,” he promised and called on the women to take good care of the dresses. “This is one way as a religious organization we are showing our support in the fight against Ebola. Let us all try to stay safe by not engaging in risky behavior because by this we will be able to defeat the virus as quick as possible,” he added.
Ishmael Alfred Charles, Caritas Freetown Coordinator, spearheaded the distribution. He thanked partners for their support to Caritas Freetown over the years, adding that the clothes were specially made by Kenneth Cole.
Charles said Caritas is the development wing of the Catholic Church that is involve in relief and humanitarian work. “Our relief work is geared towards reaching out to the poor and needy and people in very difficult circumstance,” Charles said and pleaded with the beneficiaries to stay safe and help eradicate the disease out of the country.