Trying to remind children that life must go on after they have experienced a tragedy or tragic moment in their lives is as hard as explaining to them why the cold hands of death takes those we love, away.
The lives have just changed for three children from the Caldwell community, who we recently featured in our column on December 12, 2014 under the title ‘Ebola Happenings: Three Orphans Appeal for Help’.
These children were the first group of orphans to have lost their entire family, including both parents and two sisters, to the deadly Ebola virus. For months they have been battling their emotions, meeting dead ends whenever they were forced to go out and look for food, money and the simple things life would have offered if their parents were still alive.
For months their community, leaders and also the government who have yet to know that these children exist, until now, have forgotten them. SOS calls were never made by the children or their grandmother who quite recently had to leave her village to help watch over them.
Our female reporter, Yewa Sandy, who says she was attacked months ago while trying to reach the children and those who were all affected by the Ebola spread, was never able to reach them.
So for months, they have had nothing but a sullen look on their faces, upset about what hand they have been dealt at such young ages. No parents, no help and no possible future.
That was then. Upon reading the article that featured 16 year-old Mohammed, 14 year-old Ahmed and six year-old Bendu Passawe, the director for Rainbow Intercultural Dialogue center (RIDC) responded immediately.
“I want to help and will do all I can along with Liberian Turkish Light International school who have asked me to be here with them to assess the situation,” he stated days after the story was published.
Mr. Ali and a staff from Liberian Turkish School International visited the family to see their condition and gave them rice. They promised the sad children that they would be back after they had decided how they could help.
For weeks the children have been unconcerned about school reopening. No one had reached out to them since Mr. Ali’s visit.
Meanwhile, the Liberian Turkish School International along with Mr. Ali on Monday made a surprise visit to the Passawe children that the children say “has changed our lives forever”.
Akem, a staff of the school who just returned from Turkey, was among those who visited the family.
“I have opened my doors to you as a family and want you to share everything with me including my household. You are as of today welcome to be a part of my family and I, meaning we will spend time together, eat together, spend holidays together and everything else,” he warmly offered.
The grandmother of the Passawe children shouted for joy to know that her grandchildren now have a home again.
Furthermore, on behalf of the Liberian Turkish School International, Mr. Ali stated that each child’s school fees would be sponsored.
“Mohammed, who just sat the entrance to enter the University of Liberia, will receive a full scholarship. His college tuition will be paid until he graduates and his dorm fees will also be paid, enabling him to live on campus,” Mr. Ali said, adding, “being that Bendu and Ahmed are still under age, their school fees will be paid while they live at home with their grandma.”
While the grandmother thanked and blessed the visitors, the children watched on in amazement.
“Their parents have just rested. Their worry for their children is no more, they can rest now because the kids are going to be okay” the grandma declared with relief and happiness.
Mr. Ali gave them more rice and a container of oil and asked that they give him a full list of whatever it is that they will need to sustain themselves so that those items can be made available to them.
“You are family now and Mr. Akem will take care of you and so will the school, whether you need clothes or whatever, once we can afford it, we will get it for you” they added.