The Crisis / Problem
During the 2014-2015 Ebola Crisis in West Africa, thousands of people unfortunately passed away from Ebola. Families were devastated as the infection spread through communities, resulting in the deaths of entire families. In some instances, the children survived and became Ebola orphans. According to a published report over 12,000 children lost their primary caregiver and over 3,000 children lost both parents to Ebola in Sierra Leone.
Ebola orphans are defined as children below the age of 18 who, due to the Ebola epidemic, have lost the primary earner or bread-winner in the family. In many homes, both parents have passed away due to Ebola.
It has been a horrific journey for these orphans, many of whom have been sick with Ebola themselves and have recovered. Others have additionally had to deal with being ostracized and rejected by their neighbors - who initially feared they could catch Ebola themselves - due to their misunderstanding of the epidemic.
In response to this crisis and desperate need, in partnership with Door of Hope, Develop Africa launched an orphanage called the Dream Home in the Wellington suburb of Freetown, Sierra Leone, in May 2015. The Dream Home currently houses 22 Ebola orphans - who lost both parents to Ebola.
See video introduction to the Dream Home - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6BvNv7Ut-I
The goal of the Dream Home is to provide the best care that we can for these deserving children. Through this home, we are providing complete care, covering everything - including food, clothing, medical, school related expenses, counseling and psychosocial support.
Focusing on The Future – Taking Care of Ebola Orphans
Taking care of children is a long-term task. From a long term perspective, Ebola orphans are dealing with the emotional loss of losing their parents and or siblings, insecurity, displacement, uncertainty about their future and abandonment, to name a few.
The situation that these orphans find themselves is far from simple. It is one that requires long-term intervention to ensure that these children can grow up to become fulfilled and reach their full potential. A failure to reach out and help these orphans could result in them ending up in crime, teenage pregnancy / marriage, prostitution and other undesirable situations. Orphan girls who are left to fend for themselves will probably end up in early marriages. Some could end up as prostitutes or adopt undesirable lifestyles in order to survive. The orphan boys could become gang members, petty thieves or robbers.
We are very grateful for the opportunity to invest into the future of Ebola orphans. We are thankful that we are able to help these deserving children grow up and mature into responsible adults. We are hoping to help these children grow up into model people - people that will impact their communities and nation - and even the world.
You can learn more about the Dream Home at the following site - www.TheDreamHome.net