As a nurse who worked in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic I experienced first-hand the impact of this horrendous disease. I was fortunate to receive amazing medical support and aftercare from the NHS in the UK, support that wasn’t available to those in West Africa affected by the outbreak.
When Ebola hit in 2014 I travelled to Sierra Leone and volunteered my skills as a nurse. What I saw on those wards was shocking: whole families fighting for their lives in hot, overcrowded wards; children watching their parents die the most horrendous deaths. I have worried since what became of these children and who was helping them. Street Child recently identified 1,400 Ebola-impacted orphans who are still critically at-risk and struggling to survive. There are also thousands of children who are living in poverty and unable to go to school.
This May I will be returning to Sierra Leone for the first time since contracting the disease myself and taking part in Street Child’s Sierra Leone Marathon (running/walking the 10k!). It’s going to be a particularly poignant trip for myself and my two colleagues, Sharon and Alison, who worked with me in Sierra Leone during the outbreak. All expenses including flights, accommodation etc are met by ourselves so all donations will go direct to Street Child. We will be visiting Street Child’s projects and meeting just some of the Ebola-impacted children and families that Street Child supports, children like 18 year old Adama who lost both her parents to Ebola.
With no-one to support her and her four younger siblings, Adama approached her landlord to see if they could stay. He said no and Adama and her siblings were driven from their home. At that time, she met Street Child. Street Child supplied her with food and some supplies and she decided to focus on her siblings and ensure they could go to school. So Street Child helped her to setup a business she was able to get enough together to cover six months’ rent for her family.
As you can see, the legacy of the disease in Sierra Leone and Liberia is still felt: people's lives have been shattered; children have lost their parents and their chance at education. The work Street Child is doing in Sierra Leone is so important so please support me and my team and help us raise vital funds for Street Child and the thousands of Ebola-impacted children they support.