UNICEF recently provided more than 400 Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone with kits to re-create their lives, as well as psycho-social support.
Four conferences were offered to survivors in Bo, Kailahun and Kenema. The conferences taught the survivors about the immune responses that destroyed their disease, the importance of protecting their communities and how to do so, and psycho-social support that they will need for the future.
UNICEF provided the survivors with kits containing kitchen equipment, clothing, buckets, a mattress and a resettlement allowance after most of their household items were destroyed to prevent the Ebola virus from spreading.
Many Ebola survivors have been helping the fight against Ebola. They volunteer as social mobilizers and care assistants for children at risk of contracting the virus.
Recent surveys show that discrimination toward Ebola survivors has decreased from 96 percent to 45 percent in the past two months. Previously, 76 percent of the survey responders said they would not welcome an Ebola survivor back into their community. Now the statistic stands at 14 percent.
“We are committed to helping the government provide support to Ebola survivors,” Roeland Monasch, UNICEF representative in Sierra Leone, said. “We want to support the fight against the stigma and discrimination too many of the Ebola survivors still face, while in a very practical way help them to reintegrate back into their communities and restart their lives with a package of essential items.”
More conferences are planned for Ebola survivors throughout Sierra Leone.
“We should be optimistic as you survivors are the real heroes,” Mustapha Bai Atilla, deputy minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, said. “We should not allow Ebola to defeat us. That is why we have come to support you.”