Sierra Leone News:Tears from Ebola Orphans

 Cross section of orphans and survivors at Thigbonor village


Cross section of orphans and survivors at Thigbonor villag.

It’s Thursday 10th November 2016 when many children were in schools learning to be future leaders this children were assisting their guidance in sorting palm cannels which will be process into nut oil sale and money use to run the home.

These girls are among the Sixty (60) orphans Thigbonor village in Lokomasama chiefdom Port Loko district, inherited after Ebola had killed 56 people including their parents in the village less than two years ago, family members within the community distributed the children among themselves so that they can be look after and feed at least once per day. Over Thirty (30) of the orphans are not going to school because their guidance’s cannot afford two meals a day for them not to talk of paying school charges because most parents can’t even afford to send their biological children to school as a result of the present economic trend.
Mariama Bangura an aged woman who looks after Nine (9) children including 4 of her own children said she lost all her family member including her husband, parents and other family members to Ebola. She said as the eldest in her family she had to take five children to be look after but pointed that conditions are not favourable for them from food stuff to medications, kerosene for their lamp and cloths.
Madam Bangura said up-keeping those nine children is not an easy task so she had to buy palm cannel from able youth in the village at Ten thousand (Le.10,000) Leones per 34 centimetre bucket and exposed to the sun for days. She said after it dried herself and the children will hit the hard cover with stone and removed the nut which according to her will be taken for processing and turn into nut oil and sold.
The aged woman said for the past one year she had been surviving with the children through that trade stating that because she was not fortunate to be educated she will have loved to send at least three of those children to school but because of finances, the only thing they are embarking on now is the processing of palm cannel into nut oil. She pleaded with government and its partners to support them with seedlings, fertilizer, educational supports and finance to able to take care of their children.
Absolutely the children knew nothing about what they are going through as they ran up and down the village playing and most times involved in fetching water and firewood from the forest. Most able men in this community are either survivors or orphans because according to them they had lost both parents during the scourge.
Sheik Ibrahim Kamara is the chairman for Ebola survivors in the chiefdom who happens to be one of the stakeholders in the village revealed that during the fight against Ebola over five houses were completely wiped off which he associated with lack of knowledge by then pointing that apart from the 60 orphans 62 survivors in the village, the virus affected them greatly from livelihood to farming, water and sanitation issues.
Mr. Kamara said despite the challenges as survivors and orphans they have been receiving assistance on health and social protection but expressed that they are finding it difficult to educate the children because there is no free education for survivors nor survivors. He said he had to personally dip into his pocket to assist some care givers with financial supports which according to him are not that enough so he pleaded for educational supports in particular for all Ebola victims.
A single parent Aminata Sesay is left with 7 children to be taking care of after her husband died during the outbreak in an exclusive interview with Awoko Newspaper at her resident in Thigbonor village prior to the outbreak they were farmers operating on a vase swamp land planting twice per season. She said the death of her husband during the scourge contributed greatly on the negative output of their farm stating that when they were not farming her family and other relatives have been surviving from their seed bank.
Madam Sesay said after Ebola, she is not financially strong to educate all her children so now only few are attending whilst the others are assisting in fetching firewood from the farm to be sold so that their family can survive. She said fetching firewood in the forest is risky especially when they had to took along the children but observed that they have no other option because if they did not assist the quantity of firewood will be small which means the money will be small as well so she also call on philanthropists to assist their village before all their children drop-out of schools.
By Mohamed Kabba
Awoko Friday November 11, 2016

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