Brotherly Love


Alpha, 17, and Aruma, 14, were thrilled to be reunited on the day Aruma returned home from an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone. The boys’ parents, elder brother, and three younger siblings died from Ebola.

Aruma is on the road to recovery after spending five weeks in an Ebola treatment center. On returning home to the family compound outside Bo, the second city in Sierra Leone, he was greeted by his uncle, Idrissa, and his twin brother and sister, Alpha and Zeinab, age 17.

He and the twins and their 11-year-old aunt, Sama, who came to live with them when she was small, are all who are left of his immediate family.

While Aruma was in the treatment centre, Alpha, Zainab and Sama were quarantined. They were too afraid to sleep in the main house after their father died there and everything inside had to be burned. They slept in an outbuilding.

Their father was a cook at the local football stadium and their mother was a street vendor. The family was not a well-off family, but they ate three meals a day, often including fish or goat. Without their parents’ income, the four children have enough to eat only two meals a day, most often rice with some oil for flavor. 

Idrissa, their uncle, works as a mason and provides as best he can for the four children along with seven of his own.

“My brother asked me to look after his family before he died, but it is not easy,” he says. “I will need more help to be able to buy more than rice for them….and (pay) for their schooling.”

More than 11,000 children in West Africa have lost one or both parents to the Ebola virus.

In Sierra Leone, World Vision works with government and other organizations to provide for the needs of children who are orphaned or in quarantine in Observational Interim Care Centers. Ultimately, the aim is to reunite Ebola orphans with surviving family members or find a foster home for them in their communities.

Photo ©2015 Vikki Marmaras/World Vision

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