10 February 2015

Children Orphaned by Ebola Find a Home with SOS Children’s Villages – Sierra Leone

Children Orphaned by Ebola Find a Home with SOS Children’s Villages – Sierra Leone

Washington, D.C.
For the first time since June 2014, new cases of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone have fallen below 100 per week. As the outbreak slows, focus now shifts from containment to the longer-term strategy for protecting and caring for the thousands of vulnerable children left orphaned by the Ebola virus. Across West Africa, Interim Care Centers (ICC) have been set up to provide psychosocial support, medical care, basic food and nonfood items to children affected by the virus. Although ICCs help address a critical immediate need, they are not equipped to provide permanent homes for these vulnerable children.
 
According to UNICEF, more than 16,000 children have lost 1 or both parents, or their primary caregivers to the disease. About 8,000 of these children are reportedly from Sierra Leone.
 
SOS Children’s Villages, an international nongovernmental organization providing family-based care to orphaned and abandoned children, is ramping up efforts to provide permanent homes to children in Makeni, Freetown and Bo, Sierra Leone. The organization recently welcomed 4 children, ages 8 months to 6 years old, to its Village in Makeni after completing their 21-day quarantine at local ICCs.
 
“The Ebola outbreak has left thousands of these children orphaned. Many of these children have also been abandoned by their relatives due to fear and stigma associated with the disease,” said Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages – USA. “SOS Children’s Villages – Sierra Leone is playing an important role in the lives of these children by ensuring they are cared for and raised in a loving, stable environment.”
 
Charles*, a one-year-old boy, is one of the children who will now call SOS Children’s Villages his home. Charles lost both of his parents and six family members to the Ebola virus. Two of his sisters who contracted the virus survived but do not have the means to take care of him.
 
At SOS Children’s Villages, children orphaned by Ebola like Charles, will become part of permanent SOS families. Each child will live in a loving, stable home and have access to quality healthcare and education. 
 
SOS Children’s Villages provides care to vulnerable children and families in over 130 countries and territories, including Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Click here to learn more about SOS Children’s Villages and its response to the Ebola outbreak.
 
*Name changed to protect identity.