DECEMBER 16, 2014
One of Sierra Leone’s leading child protection agencies working with Ebola orphans in the country, Street Child of Sierra Leone (SCoSL), has provided food and non-food items to some one thousand and ninety-one (1,091) children orphaned by the deadly outbreak in eight chiefdoms in Kailahun district and three chiefdoms in Kenema district respectively. The donated items include rice, cooking condiments, toiletries and mattresses.
SCoSL’s Head of Communications, Advocacy and Mini Projects, Moses Lamin Karama, told Concord Times that his organization has supported a total of 656 Ebola orphans in 194 families in eight chiefdoms – Luawa, Kissi Teng, Kissi Tongi, Kissi Kama, Upper Bambara, Mandu, Jawei and Njaluahun – in the Kailahun district, as well as 535 orphans in 45 families in the Kenema district.
Explaining about SCoSL’s Ebola orphans project, Kamara said the organisation 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 said. “We are not looking at biological relationship but rather parenting or child-rearing. This category of children is 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.”
Paramount Chief Fallah Jusu of Kissi Tongi, one of the beneficiary chiefdoms in the Kailahun district, said Street Child is one of few non-governmental organisations providing food and non-food items to people that have been badly affected by the deadly Ebola virus in his chiefdom.
He acknowledged that the organisation has been very supportive to children who have lost their parents or caregivers to the Ebola virus.
“The situation of these children after the death of their parents and caregivers had been deplorable. Food was their biggest problem while others were faced with additional problems such as lack of mattresses, clothing, plates, spoons, cups and toiletries. This was because all their household properties were burnt down by the medical team while disinfecting their homes,” explained Chief Jusu. “All the items in each of these packages have been supplied to each affected household by Street Child of Sierra Leone.”
For PC Musa Kallon of Jawei chiefdom, also in the Kailahun district, he expressed appreciation to Street Child for what he described as “a timely support” to some of the most vulnerable children in his chiefdom.
He stressed that food is the most needed item for people affected by the Ebola crisis, and especially those in quarantined homes, thus lauding the gesture from Street Child.
Child Protection Officer in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Victor Macarthy, said the work being done by Street Child in that part of the country is commendable, as according to him, the organisation “is providing the most felt needs of its targeted beneficiaries”.