Memuna Jabbie is 65 years old and lives in Makeni, Sierra Leone with her 12 grandchildren. Memuna lost four of her five children to Ebola and her surviving daughter is too ill to look after her children, leaving Memuna to adopt and raise her 12 grandchildren. The youngest is just two years old.
Memuna’s family became part of the Street Child programme when her 10 year-old grandson Ibrahim was seen playing on the street during school hours by one of the Street Child team.
Since then, Street Child have supported the family so that the children can go to school and receive an education.
In early 2016, Ibrahim returned to the Young Muslim School in Makeni. Now, all Memuna’s school-age grandchildren are in education.
Following the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia, grandparent-headed households became more and more common. Street Child estimates that more than 20,000 children were orphaned during Ebola and many elderly grandparents are now facing the cost of educating, feeding and clothing their grandchildren.
Ramatu and her husband Alusine are both in their seventies and with Street Child’s support they have set up a family business to provide for their 18 grandchildren, the youngest of whom is not yet walking.
Whilst Ebola is no longer making headlines, the legacy of the disease is all too real.
The Street Child family business programme helps grandparents to set up sustainable businesses so they can send their grandchildren to school and give them a quality education.