Aid workers have warned that Ebola has created a generation of orphans forced into desperate measures to fend for themselves after the disease claimed their parents. A British-run charity says many of the thousands of children stricken by the virus have turned to crime and prostitution simply to care for their siblings.
The Street Child charity’s researchers, who surveyed every district in Sierra Leone, first documented the shocking extent of the Ebola orphan crisis. Their research found the following:
- More than 12,023 children have been left orphans by Ebola
- An estimated 25,000 have been orphaned across West Africa as a whole
- Around 17% of them live in a household with five or more other orphans
- The orphans have an average age of eight
- Nearly 60 per cent live in isolated rural settings, making it hard for aid workers to reach them.
Street Child charity, which has managed to provide some counseling, education and employment support for around 11,000 children, found that many of the orphans have not only experience immediate problems such as hunger, but have also been stigmatized by their wider community. Continue reading at source: Armenpress
The devastating impact of the Ebola crisis was laid bare this week with a report showing more than 12,000 children have been orphaned by the disease in Sierra Leone.
The charity found that some children, rejected by their friends because of the stigma of Ebola, have tried to take their own lives, while girls are being forced into commercial sex work to earn money for food their parents would have previously provided.
Many of the children orphaned by Ebola are psychologically scarred, said Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, an international nonprofit organization. Many watched their parents die in front of them; they suffered from the disease themselves, or worried they would.