Children of the Nations Helps Provide Homes for Ebola Orphans in Sierra Leone

    Silverdale, Wash. – January 26, 2015 –Children of the Nations (COTN) is preparing to open temporary housing for children orphaned by the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.

     
    Ebola has already orphaned about 8,000 children in Sierra Leone. These children are often shunned by their friends and family, who fear the spread of the disease. COTN will help provide these children with a loving, safe home.
     
    “These last months have been traumatic for everyone in Sierra Leone, but none more so than these children who have lost their parents to this dreadful virus,” said COTN’s Sierra Leone liaison, Mark Drennan. “As we have seen the numbers of children being orphaned during this time rise and rise, it became clear to all concerned that Children of the Nations needed to expand our response.”
     
    Over the next several weeks, COTN will renovate its school in the Marjay Town neighborhood of Freetown, turning it into a suitable place for up to 50 children to live. This will include adding beds, toilets, water tanks, and better security. 
     
    Once the care center is ready, COTN’s in-country staff will work with the Ministry of Social Welfare in Sierra Leone to identify children who have been orphaned by Ebola and need a place to live. Children will not be brought into the center if there is any concern that they have Ebola themselves.
     
    This temporary care center will house children for up to one year while efforts are made to reconnect them with relatives. If any of the children are unable to connect with relatives or suitable families after a year, COTN will welcome those children into its family-style Children’s Homes in Sierra Leone’s interior.
     
    “COTN believes that the ideal place for any child is with their family, which is why our largest program is our Village Partnership Program, in which we support parents and guardians as they care for their children,” Drennan added. “This center will ensure that children who have lost so much to Ebola can be cared for and embraced by the COTN family as we seek to bring them home once again.” 
     
    When a suitable family is found for a child, COTN will provide the child with a package that includes food, a small sum of money, and items the child has taken ownership of while living at the center (clothes, hygiene items, bedding, etc.).
     
    Between two weeks and one month after their placement with a family, children will receive a visit from a COTN–Sierra Leone social worker, to ensure they are being cared for appropriately. 
     
    For more information, please visit cotni.org/ebola.
     
     
    Children of the Nations® (COTN®) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising children who transform nations. The organization currently serves in Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, providing holistic care to orphaned and destitute children. For more information, visit cotni.org.
     
    Media contact:
    Brian Olson, Senior Editor
    360-698-7227 / brianolson@cotni.org