15 December Dec 2014 1712 15 December 2014

Ebola Emergency in Sierra Leone, the Italians who challenge the fear

The President of Camera dei Deputati Laura Boldrini hosted the event titled "Ebola, the Italians who challenge the fear", on december the 9th.  AVSI presented its work at the front line in the emergency in Sierra Leone. Education for children who are not going to schools, first of all. Our staff is also distributing water, food and non-food items to quarantined households and street children, supporting the reintegration of survivors and children in their communities. And providing interim care to orphans due to EVD.

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"In the fight against the Ebola virus in Africa, Italians are at the front line: research centers, doctors and nurses, skills in the field that has few equals. It is important to recognize the value of these people who challenge the fear with generosity and professionalism", said Laura Boldrini president of Camera dei Deputati on december the 9th, introducing the event dedicated to italian workers against ebola.
"We are working in promoting education in emergency for all those children who are not going to schools - said Maria Teresa Gatti, AVSI Knowledge Center & Communication Manager during the event - Schools are closed because of the epidemic, and we are using the local radio network: a 3-hour-daily-lesson is broadcast on the radio in Freetown".
"A special mention goes to Ernest Sesay, president of FHM - said Maria Teresa Gatti at the end of her speech - Kidnapped by guerrilla soldiers in 1999 and escaped just before his execution, he decided to commit to help to the most vulnerable right after meeting Father Berton and getting to know his work with former child soldiers. Ernest Sesay is now president of the Family Home Movement, an NGO in Sierra Leone which is part of the network of organizations of AVSI, and since the early days of the epidemic is working to give support to the people of Sierra Leone".

What we are doing to face the emergency

AVSI is working in Sierra Leone since 2000, together with the local NGO Family Home Movement, with projects to support distance learning and the local education system . Now we decided to put our staff and our expertise to fight Ebola emergency.
AVSI Ebola Response in numbers
  • more than 68 communities reached in 3 different districts with sensitization messages
  • more than 5,300 households reached with EVD campaigns
  • 410 street children living in the East End of Freetown received daily meals during the 3-day lockdown in September
  • 250 orphans due to EVD in Kenema district helped with food items
  • 447 orphans and survived children assisted with psychosocial support in Tonkolili and Freetown
  • 329 children provided with food items and clothes
  • 100 reintegration kits distributed to orphans and survived children
  • 157 bags of rice, 40 cooking oil cans and other food items distributed to quarantined families
From the beginning of the Ebola outbreak emergency in Sierra Leone, AVSI has been active with its local partner, the Family Homes Movement (FHM), in promoting awareness campaigns in its operational areas, involving especially the local communities around the Holy Family Schools in Mayenkineh (East Freetown) and Tabai (Bombali district). AVSI and FHM promoted social mobilization activities by involving youth groups in the villages and creating teams mobilizing a total staff of 89 people working in 3 different areas: East End of Freetown (from Upgun to Jui), Yoni chiefdom and Bumbuna (Tonkolili District, Northern Province).
AVSI and FHM are working in Freetown East, Tonkolili and Bombali districts supporting the needs of quarantined households with special attention to children. By providing food and non-food items such as rice, cooking oil, onions, potatoes, soap and tooth brush and paste, AVSI is contributing to alleviate the suffering of the poorest communities living in quarantined areas. AVSI and FHM mobilized a staff of 29 people, including teachers of the Holy Family Schools, who provides assistance to 200 affected households. Moreover, during the 3-day lockdown declared by GOSL at the end of September, our staff fed 410 street children living in the East End of Freetown by providing them with 2 daily meals. AVSI is planning to give assistance to other 400 families in the next coming months.
One of the most urgent needs in the countries affected by Ebola is the provision of interim care and assistance to orphans. As of end of November orphans of one or both parents due to EVD are 4,349. AVSI and FHM opened an Interim Care Centre (ICC) in Magburaka (Tonkolili) run by a staff of 7 people, including a survivor. Here, orphans and children who survived the disease are assisted with food, clothes, psychosocial support and helped to be reintegrated in their families or in new families. We are also assisting the children, tracing their families, creating network of foster parents and raising awareness in the communities to fight the stigma against orphans and survivors. AVSI and FHM are now opening the St. Michael Interim Care Centre in Lakka with a capacity for hosting 30 children daily.
We are also working in promoting education in emergency for all those children who are not going to schools that are closed because of the epidemic, by using the local radio network. A 3-hour-daily-lesson is broadcast on the radio in Freetown: heads and teachers of our Holy Family Schools are bringing the registrations to the local radios in Magburaka, Mile 91 and Bumbuna (Tonkolili) and giving support to local teachers who are providing personal lessons to upper primary and junior school students living in under-privileged communities not reached by the broadcast in Freetown.
Responding to a request from UNICEF and Ministry of Health and Sanitation, AVSI and FHM built a Community Care Centre in Roruks village (Yoni chiefdom, Tonkolili). The closeness of a holding and first care centre to affected villages can be of help in providing faster and effective case management, assuring at the same time the collaboration of the local community whose members will have the opportunity to visit their relatives/friends assisted in the centre.


From the website:
(Select: Emergenza Ebola in Sierra Leone) Bank transfer: CREDITO VALTELLINESE SEDE MILANO STELLINE, Corso Magenta, 59 IBAN: IT04D0521601614000000005000 Bank account: AVSI FONDAZIONE Reason for payment: Ebola emergency in Sierra Leone/h2>

For international bank transfer: Swift code (BIC): BPCVIT2S


To better assist children and orphans, It is now possible to help us through the Emergency Distance support programm for Sierra Leone. You can subscribe it online or writing to (phone number: +39 0547 360811

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