Thousands of people danced in the streets of the capital of Freetown Saturday, after the UN’s World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone officially free of Ebola.
They also gathered for candlelight vigils, according to news reports, to remember the nearly 4,000 people killed by the vicious virus since May 2014. Among them were 221 health workers, who died trying to save others.
But the impacts of the Ebola crisis are far from over. The economy, already weakened by a decade-long civil war, has been crippled. Foreign mining companies and other investors packed up and left. Farms had to be abandoned. People across the country are hungry. There are an estimated 12,000 orphans.
The country must be vigilant against new outbreaks — neighboring Liberia has been declared Ebola-free twice and Guinea saw several new cases in recent weeks. And scientists are discovering that the disease might be transmitted sexually by survivors and that “after effects” could include blindness, deafness or pain.
Sierra Leoneans, despite their undefeated spirit and optimism, will continue to need help getting back on their feet and securing their families’ futures. Sherbro Foundation intends to be there for them.
You can be a part of the recovery. Our current campaign, Growing a Baby’s Future, aims to help parents save for their baby’s education and gain income from planting fruit trees. Go to: SherbroFoundation.org/donate
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