Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ebola Heroes: The Teenagers of A-LIFE

Even as Ebola raged through the seaside Monrovia slum of West Point, many residents denied the existence of the disease.  In August, dubious crowds broke into a West Point Ebola holding center and "freed" the patients inside.  Many residents believed Ebola did not exist, at least not in West Point, and that perhaps the entire outbreak was a fabrication, made up by agents who wanted to steal funding, harvest organs, or conduct experiments on humans.

But on Sept 17, a group of 200 teenage girls, and some boys, marched through the tight streets of West Point, promoting Ebola education through song.  This was the official start of A-LIFE: Adolescents Leading an Intense Fight Against Ebola.  This drive for public education, the name, and the organizing of A-LIFE was all done by Liberian girls age 16-19.   The girls of Liberia, a country with extremely high rates of sexual violence, are no strangers to hardship.  Yet in West Point, they were leading public education efforts.

After learning of the girls' efforts, local UNICEF leaders provided them with safety education and basic PPE.  It is likely that ongoing public education efforts such as this are responsible for the dramatic decline of Ebola cases in Liberia.

Well done, A-LIFE members!

Photos from UNICEF,

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