FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 7, 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Rendon, 202.470.5182, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOS Children’s Villages to Help Children Orphaned by Ebola
Washington, D.C. – As the global community continues to mobilize in response to the intensifying Ebola epidemic, the significant impact of the outbreak on children is becoming more evident. According to UNICEF, thousands of children in West Africa have lost one or both parents to the virus, and some are facing stigma and rejection by extended family members not willing to care for them on account of fear. The epidemic has left approximately 3,700 children orphaned or abandoned.
“A lot of focus has been put on treating infected adults and there has been a lack of attention and proper care for infected and/or affected children,” said Olatungie Woode, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages – Sierra Leone.
SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest organization working to protect and provide for orphaned and abandoned children, is ramping up efforts to help care for children affected by the Ebola virus in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The organization will focus its efforts on providing care for unaccompanied children, those who have lost their parents, or are at risk of losing parental care.
“The Ebola outbreak has claimed the lives of parents and family members throughout West Africa, leaving an alarming number of children without parental care,” said Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages – USA. “Children are the most vulnerable in a crisis, at a time when they need the protection and care of family. In this crisis, we are seeing how fear among extended families and communities is furthering the likelihood of abandonment for these children. SOS Children’s Villages calls on the international community and governments to prioritize the protection and care of children affected by this virus.”
In response to the Ebola crisis, SOS Children’s Villages has:
SOS Children’s Villages is present in all countries affected by the virus including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. The organization provides stable homes for vulnerable children in these countries, as well as social services to families to help prevent child abandonment. Due to this crisis, SOS villages in affected countries have temporarily closed their schools and nurseries, and restricted access to the villages to prevent contamination.
- Provided initial support to 163 orphaned and abandoned children in Sierra Leone. Needs assessments are underway to help expand and extend support to orphaned or abandoned children in all of the Ebola-affected countries.
- Established food and fuel contingency stocks to last the villages in all affected countries for three months.
- Continued operations at a medical center in Monrovia, Liberia that is treating over 50 patients a day. The center does not provide Ebola case management, but quarantine mechanisms are in place for suspected cases.
- Carried out awareness campaigns about Ebola to inform children, families and local communities about how to prevent contamination and detect early symptoms.