Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Yet Another Crisis

March 05,2015

SIERRA LEONE— There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after one staff member died last week from Ebola, and his wife died this week.

The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in the capital, Freetown, is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. In the last year, it has helped hundreds of children orphaned by the Ebola virus.

The Ebola virus has orphaned several children more than once. There are boys who have lost two fathers - indeed all the children at this orphanage are double victims.

Ebola killed their parents and now it has claimed the life of the man who gave them shelter.

On our visit we had to be careful - the whole area is under quarantine.

It was Augustine Baker who helped to run the orphanage offering help to those many in society ignore.

First, he was rescuing street children. Then, when Ebola came along he provided a safe haven for orphans of the virus.

"Each are like four years, five years nine years, seen ambulance coming to their homes collecting the corpses of his or her mother. It's too much for the child," he said.

But last week he collapsed at a staff meeting and a few days later he was dead.

Then this week, his wife Bunda also passed away.

Their two children are now orphans

Marian Foster is one of the seven staff at the orphanage. She said everyone's temperatures are taken three times a day as a precaution.
Foster says everyone is frightened they have been infected too.

There are almost 8,500 Ebola orphans in Sierra Leone but for the time being, for 21 days, this place is out of bounds. And the fervent hope is it will reopen soon.

As health workers assess the situation at the facility complete closure of the orphanage is unthinkable

That will be a terrible blow for the children given a chance to survive the Ebola crisis and a blow for the society still struggling to beat the disease.

Because of the size and seriousness of the Ebola outbreak, VOA and BBC are collaborating in order to give audiences in Africa and around the world access to the best information and content available.