Adama, 18 years old
Last year during the time when Ebola came, I lost my mother and my father to the disease and I’ve been unable to continue at school.
I’m 18 years old and I have four younger sisters and a brother aged between 2 and 15 years old.
I’m the only one here to look after them.
When my mother and father died of Ebola there was no one to do anything for us. I went to talk to the man who owned the place we were living with my parents to ask if he would give us a chance to stay. But he said no. Then he came and drove us out. Unfortunately the stress of losing our mother affected my brother’s head somehow. He decided to leave and make his own way but all of my sisters were still with me.
I went to talk to a woman in our community who knew my family and she took us in. But she said she wouldn’t be able to do it for free. I had no choice so I agreed. But it was hard to keep it up. I told her we had nowhere else to go but this was how it was.
For a while I had someone that was giving me support and I begged for him to help get me and my family an education. But he stopped.
At that time I was fortunate to meet Street Child and they gave us some food and some supplies and things were a little better. It was then I decided that I should focus on my sisters. Make sure that they had the chance that I did not to go to school and learn. That is what I told Street Child when I met them. Let me work and make some small money and use that to help my sisters.
Now they’ve helped me to get started with a business. I was able to get enough together with their help to cover six-months rent in a place for me and my family of our own.
Right now I am selling cooking supplies, drinks, small things like that. At least I am selling something. At first I made food and walked from place to place to sell it. I used to sell in the streets but people from the community weren’t happy with that and I didn’t want to be in conflict with them. So I decided to sell from home. I buy goods from the market and sell at the back of the house. I was going from place to place to tell people what they can buy and where and now we’re doing okay.
I’m able with the money I make to send my sisters to school.
I think it’s so important for my sisters to get educated, to learn and to gain some maturity. They’ll be able to sustain and help themselves in the future. Even though I stopped going to school I was at least able to learn something and I want to make sure that they get that chance. I feel that education for them is so valuable.
My hope for the future is that they’re able to have a better life. And that they are able to stand up for themselves. I encourage them to play but not too much so they can focus on their study. As their big sister I advise them. But also I am their mother and their father now. I hope they will listen to me and stay in school to improve their knowledge.
I think the most important thing for my sisters is to encourage them when they are in school, make sure they have lunch, something to eat when they get back home and help them with their studies. Come home, eat some food then get down to work. If they have that support then they’ll be able to do well. That is the same for all girls.