An Ebola Survivor with a Big Dream

Dorcas Harris being interviewed by Emma Smith, founder of the Emma Smith Foundation and host of the Emma Smith Reality Show.

Dorcas wants to become an internationally acclaimed architect

Liberia is a country where dreams are hardly realized due to the lack of opportunities to support young people’s ambitions, let alone that of a child who has survived the deadly Ebola virus disease.

Nevertheless, the country’s entrenched tradition of a patronage system where only a few are given opportunities because of connections while the vast majority are left to fend or struggle for themselves, won’t hold back some determined young people.

It is against this backdrop that Dorcas Harris, a 16 year old survivor of the worst health epidemic to hit Liberia – the Ebola virus disease, indicated “Once there is life, there is hope.” She has a dream, and according to Dorcas, she must fulfill it.

Dorcas Harris, who is currently a freshman at the Broker Washington Institute, is a little girl with a big dream.

As an architecture student, Dorcas dreams of becoming an international and well-known architect in the future. And Dorcas is just one of the few females venturing into this male dominated field in Liberia.

“I decided to become an architect to help my country develop. You see, we have to end our dependency on foreign architects to design most of our buildings, roads and bridges, a situation I don’t think is sustainable. Also, I want to challenge and inspire lots of females to join this field.

“And as someone who loves art, I think being an architect will enable me to better express my creativity, and it is an artful way to make an impact on society,” she said, adding that since architecture is the art of self-expression, she wants to leave that impression and touch on every design she creates.

“I’m working hard to become the person I wish to be. I know there will be challenges, but I’m in the position to overcome and hope to become Liberia’s first female skyline designer. I want to transform Liberia’s look with beautiful buildings.”

Meanwhile, Dorcas, who lost her mother during the Ebola crisis but was lucky that her father survived, complained of stigmatization and rejection.

“Stigmatization and rejection do still exist and this is bad. I think it has to completely stop. I caught the virus after I hugged my mother when she came home from work. Losing my mother is the most terrible experience I have ever been through,” she said.

Stories of survivors like Dorcas and many others will be unearthed every week on the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) funded radio by the Emma Smith Reality Show that is intended for survivors to highlight their problems so that government, policymakers and philanthropic interventions will be stimulated to address their needs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here