By Millicent Senava Mannah

 In the wake of the Ebola outbreak in the country that decimated the lives of many there were survivors left behind who became the main focus, at that material time, of various organizations that decided to come to their plight by rendering various forms of assistances.

Lamentably, a large percentage of the survivors were women and children with some among the latter becoming orphans since they lost their parents.

After a year or two some organizations withdrew their supports, leaving the survivors including the aforementioned children in helpless conditions. They were left to suffer in a society where individuals were wickedly stigmatized for having contracted such a deadly disease but however survived.

Musu Dumbuya a 24 year old woman lost sixteen members of her family including her parents in 2014 and by then she was just 18 years old. As the eldest of her three siblings she automatically became their bread winner.

“It was really difficult to take care of myself and my younger siblings after we lost our parents and fourteen other members of our family. The remaining members of our family rejected us and didn’t show any concern towards our situation,” she bemoaned.

One would ask how someone of her age by then could responsible for herself and siblings when even some grown up men are running away from such a responsibility. Imagine the cost of living in the country and how prices are increasing on a daily basis!

Musu ,like any other young girl, had dreams and aspirations and what she wanted to become in life. But all those dreams crashed when she lost her parents.

“I wanted to become a soldier when I grow up but that dream died after losing both my parents to the deadly Ebola disease. As a result of that I went into early marriage for the sake of my siblings and I survived the odds,” Musu narrated her ordeal with her a broad smile on her face.

As she was narrating my heart was bleeding with tears in my eyes for her, with the thoughts that if only someone or an organization would have stepped up earlier to render support to them, such a big dream wouldn’t have crashed.

She told me that she offered herself as a sacrificial lamb for her siblings giving up her own dream for them to fulfill their own. She is hoping that her brother who is now in SS2 will soon enlist into the Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) after sitting to the WASSCE and become the soldier she wanted to be.

Fortunately for her, Caritas-Freetown, a Non Governmental Organization, through a Project it implemented for Ebola Survivors to recover, supported her and other survivors with small capitals or seed monies to set up scale businesses for them to have their source of livelihoods. Though one may say it was somehow a bit late, however, it was still a timely intervention.

“Out of the business I was, at some points in time, able to pay the school fees of my siblings and take care of other basic needs.  And I was able to save for a period of six months in order to give back to the organization as the Project demanded,” she stated. However, at the end of the Project Caritas Freetown decided to give back to all the targeted beneficiaries their profits to be ploughed back into their businesses as of way of extending them.

Musu is seen as a really focused minded individual despite her age. The organization helped fifty of them and she emerged as the one who saved the highest to the organization and their savings were given back to them by the organization.

The young ambitious lady said she would go back and increase her business with the money she received. She is determined to succeed and to fill the vacuum their parents left in the lives of her siblings.

There are many people like Musu out there who are suffering and seeking for help.

I am calling on the Government, organizations and individuals that are in the capacity to render their supports to such people we are living with in our communities. If even you can touch the life of one, you will be remembered for it and God will bless you.SO

Courtesy of the Calabash 17 January 2022

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