This is six-year-old Jesse. At the Kelekula ICC, Jesse liked playing with friends. They rode the swing and the merry-go-round and played football in the compound. Jesse enjoyed the food they served each day. He has been reunited with family friends who live in Monrovia. “I am happy with the people I am living with now,” Jesse says.
His mother and grandparents all died from Ebola, and Jesse was visibly grieving when he was first reunited with his family friends, although he is doing better now. He looks forward to returning to school soon. “For now, we actually need some supports like clothes and school fees,” Jesse’s caregiver explains.
While Liberia is on the road to recovery, there are many challenges ahead for the small West African nation. People have been struggling to earn an income to feed their families. Community support networks have been devastated and children are only just beginning to return to school after at least 10 months of absence.
Billy Abimbilla, national director for ChildFund Liberia and Sierra Leone says: “Many children are experiencing such a traumatic situation for the first time. It’s going to affect them adversely for some time to come. So ChildFund, together with other actors and the government in Sierra Leone and Liberia, is working to reduce the trauma and stigmatisation of children. We must help them get back into normalcy, into normal development, so we can restore hope and dignity for these children and they can continue to enjoy their basic rights.”