DECEMBER 22, 2014
As the deadly Ebola virus continues to take its toll on the Sierra Leonean populace, the disease continues to claim the lives of scores of breadwinners in families thus leaving in its wake thousands of orphans and street children.
Street Child of Sierra Leone (SCoSL), a leading child protection organization working with children orphaned by the Ebola crisis in the country, has provided food and non-food items to Ebola orphans in nine chiefdoms in the Port Loko District, namely Lokomasama, Maforkie, TMS, Kaffu Bullom, BKM, Koya, Masimera, Marampa and Buya Romende.
The donated items include bags of rice, boxes of cooking condiments, under-five foods of various types, cups, plates, spoons, tooth brushes and paste, boxes of bathing soap, used clothing and slippers, among others.
Speaking to Concord Times, SCoSL Head of Communications, Advocacy and Mini Projects, Moses Lamin Kamara, said Port Loko District accounts for the second highest infection rate and confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, noting that each chiefdom in the district could boast of hundreds of cases.
This situation, he added, leaves the district with the second highest number of Ebola orphans in the country.
According to Mr. Kamara, his organization is very much concerned about such a development and therefore committed to supporting this category of Ebola victims. He said SCoSL has its own unique definition of who an orphan is, and also does things differently from the others.
“For us, Ebola orphans are children below the age of 18 that have lost the breadwinner in their family due to the Ebola virus,” he explained. “We are not looking at biological relationship but rather parenting or child-rearing. This category of children are in their thousands and can be found in every Ebola affected area. Wherever they are, we will reach them and give them the necessary support.”
In his statement, former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, now District Ebola Response Coordinator for Port Loko District, Raymond Kabia, said Street Child is one of the most trustworthy and few non-governmental organisations that is meeting the felt needs of people affected by the deadly Ebola virus, especially children who have lost the breadwinners in their families to Ebola.
“This is the third time I am witnessing the organisation giving support to Ebola orphans in both Port Loko town and Lunsar,” Mr. Kabia told the beneficiaries and others present during the presentation of the items. “In all of their food and non-food items distribution exercises, I’ve been really impressed with the packages presented to each household.”
Speaking on behalf of the Paramount Chief of Maforki Chiefdom, PC Alikali Mellah II and his counterparts in Marampa, Masimera and Buya Romende chiefdoms, Alex R. Bangura – Special Adviser to the Paramount Chief – said Street Child is the leading organisation that is caring for the needs of children and households affected by the Ebola outbreak in that part of the country.
“If all other NGOs can emulate the good work of Street Child, then the immediate needs of our Ebola orphans will be adequately addressed,” he said.
SCoSL’s Deputy Head of Operation, who doubles as Project Coordinator of the organisation’s Port Loko District project, Cecilia Mansaray, said the scheme has supported some six hundred and sixty-four (664) Ebola orphans in two hundred and thirty (230) households in the district.
Also speaking, the Project Coordinator for the Lunsar project, Moses Sesay, said the scheme has supported some one thousand, four hundred and fifty-five (1,455) Ebola orphans in four hundred and thirty-eight (438) households.