OCTOBER 21, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
In response to an appeal made by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, a leading child protection agency in the country, Street Child Sierra Leone yesterday announced that they will be providing support to one thousand (1,000) children that have suffered as a result of the Ebola virus disease.
The organization’s Country Director, Emmanuel Kelfa Kargbo, making the pronouncement at the conference room of the ministry, stated that they will start with one thousand Ebola orphans with the possibility of increasing it to another one thousand in November.
He explained that the support will include food, clothing, toiletries, condiments and utensils, as well as beddings and mattresses for selected children that have suffered most from the virus.
“We are going to work with a specific set of children that we have referred to as ‘Ebola orphans’. For a start, we will support one thousand Ebola orphans but by November, we want to increase it with another one thousand,” he said. “We are happy today that we are making history in the lives of children that have been affected by the Ebola virus disease.”
Mr. Kargbo revealed that in collaboration with the Social Welfare Ministry, they will also help orphans in the area of tracing and reunifying them with their families.
In his statement, Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mustapha Bai Atilla, expressed his profound thanks and appreciation to Street Child for their “innovative and timely intervention” in responding to the plight of children affected by the Ebola outbreak.
He noted that children affected by the Ebola outbreak have been subjected to stigma with some communities refusing to accept them, a situation he said has given the ministry more work. He added that they are also grappling with issues of starvation and deprivation.
“We are putting in place as a ministry family tracing and reunification with separated children as a result of the Ebola outbreak, and interim care service for them as well. We also intend to have alternative care for them and improve the capacity of Child Protection Committees,” he said.
On behalf of the ministry, Mr. Atilla promised to collaborate with Street Child and to provide monitoring and supervision to ensure great success.