Jo’s Story (jm)

On the first day of school, Jo walks down familiar streets. When he reaches the schoolhouse, it is no different than before. Fewer people lingering in the street, perhaps. Fewer children laughing on the front lawn.

One year ago, the Ebola outbreak was a growing rumor in West Africa. It steadily became the most fatal outbreak in history. At the heart of the disaster are communities paralyzed by loss and fear, and within them, families burying one another until there is no one left to hold the shovel.

Jo is a survivor in the most tragic definition of the word. He survived the Ebola Virus, but lost his mother, his father, and all six of his siblings. At 10 years old, he is starting again.

The first step begins at school. For nearly a year it stood empty, a silent witness to the chaos plaguing the small Liberian village of Bulorquellen. Today, its doors are open again. The children of the recovering community have returned.

When the outbreak began, ADRA’s local staff worked within communities to prevent Ebola’s spread and to provide relief. Today, the need for protection supplies has been replaced by the need for school supplies. ADRA is there for this and more.

For recovering children, relief can be found within schools. With hand-washing stations and health presentations, we are ensuring the continued health of children and teachers, and by giving backpacks full of school necessities, we are helping kids have faith in the future again.