10 May 2020
The voice is strong, and the words are sung with purpose: "Let's protect ourselves to save our family and our country; let's stop the public gatherings."
The singer? She is nine-year-old Joselia Kollie.
Her song can be heard on Liberian radio stations. And health officials are praising her efforts.
Joselia said she wanted to do her part to stop the spread of COVID-19 because "whenever bad things happen, we, the children, will always suffer."
Liberia is still rebuilding its public health system after battling Ebola Virus Disease. The Ebola epidemic killed 4,810 people between 2014 and 2016.
Joselia Kollie lives in Gbarnga, Liberia, 180 kilometers from the capital of Monrovia.
She told The Associated Press "I believe this song will help fight the virus because the song says prevention. We need to prevent ourselves from coronavirus by washing our hands, not shaking hands and not sneezing on one another," she said.
Joselia began singing at the age of three. She recently told her mother she wanted to do a song about fighting coronavirus.
"God called her to (do) certain things and she wants to fulfill her destiny," said Amanda T. Kollie, herself a gospel singer.
Her mother helped her write the song, which was recorded in a local production house and then sent out to radio stations.
The song makes Liberians remember how much the country has been through.
"Some years back, we suffered from a civil war, we suffered from Ebola that took away many lives," she sings. "This time around, it's coronavirus - coronavirus is so terrible."
Joselia has already done a lot in her young life. She was just six when her parents helped her set up a group to help friends stay in school when their families faced financial difficulties. The aid group, Build My Future Foundation, is now helping five girls and two boys in rural Liberia.
Francis Kateh is Liberia's top doctor and a leader in the battle against COVID-19. The chief medical officer said he was "overwhelmed with gratitude" for Joselia's effort. Long-time radio presenter and reporter Patrick Okai also offered high praise for the girl's song.
"The message is powerful" he said, "especially with the chorus line that says, ‘prevention is better than cure.'"
I'm Bryan Lynn.
Jonathan Paye-Layleh reported this story for The Associated Press. George Grow adapted it for VOA Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.
Words in This Story
epidemic - n. when an infectious disease spreads to many people in a community
sneeze – v. to suddenly expel air from the nose and mouth
destiny – n. the events that will necessarily happen to a given person or thing
gospel – adj. related to the teaching of Christianity
overwhelm – v. to have a strong emotional effect on
gratitude – n. thanks
chorus – n. part of a song that is repeated; a large organized group of singers
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