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11/6/2015 - Liberia - A Time of Hope
Photo for the article -LIBERIA – A TIME OF HOPE

(ANS - Monrovia) - "It's like breathing fresh air and finally living without fear," say the Salesians of the Don Bosco-Sean Devereux Centre and St. Joseph-8th Street as they describe Monrovia in Liberia which is slowly rising after the nightmare of Ebola.

Ebola was addressed and treated with dignity and love, testified to by the courage of the many young people from the two Salesian centres in Monrovia in their fight against infection through information, prevention, distribution of sanitary materials and food. "Seeing the young people in action has given us great cause for hope," say the Salesians.

We can now look differently at the recent past. The Salesians say that there is no longer the "fear of being infected with an incurable disease, the need for a hospital and not finding one open, having to help an infected friend or relative, being taken by a 'task force' and transferred to an isolation centre, ending up in an incinerator instead of having an honourable burial."

The end of the national emergency was confirmed a month ago by the World Health Organization after more than 4600 deaths. It looks like the beginning of a period of convalescence, marked by hope. Offices are reopening, the movement of people and trade are returning to normal, schools have resumed classes and the government and international institutions are working to enable the clinics and hospitals to function at full capacity.

Many precautions remain in place, starting from the requirement to wash hands frequently with water and chlorine and to disinfect public places. Underage girls, who are pregnant or have already given birth, are considered the social group most in need of help in the age group 15-18 years. Another risk group are young people, over 3000 of them according to UNICEF, who were orphaned by the virus. And there are many other similar situations of hardship.

More than 400 beds were prepared in other centres by way of precaution. In the meantime some of these are used as clinics available to the Liberian people. "During the time of the Ebola infection I wrote that it was a time of purification of our faith, now is the time to give reason for our hope" says Father Nicola Ciarapica, SDB.

The Salesians are now engaged in projects to support 1200 boys and girls to keep them off the streets. With the help of our benefactors many families in need are being assisted to pay school fees and buy books for children. This year we have been able to sponsor 253 young people.

Published 11/06/2015

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