Cuddles, love and care for Faraja
UNICEF works with survivors, psychosocial assistants and psychologists to support children orphaned or left unaccompanied by Ebola.
BUTEMBO, Democratic Republic of Congo – “Faraja is a miracle child”, explains Edwige Kavugho while she tenderly cradles the small boy in her arms. As soon as he entered this world Faraja was separated from his mother, who was infected with the Ebola virus and admitted to the Ebola treatment centre in Butembo,
Faraja would never be able to benefit from his mother’s body warmth; she died several hours after giving birth. Faraja was kept under observation before being admitted to the next door nursery set up by UNICEF to care for children who have been orphaned or separated by Ebola.
“He was only 4 days old when he arrived at the nursery” Edwige goes on to say, noting that he was the youngest child at the nursery.
Faraja remained at the nursery for nearly a month where he was monitored in case he developed symptoms. The little boy was at risk of developing the disease that had already taken his mother, his father and his brother. It was Edwige – a survivor of the disease – who took care of feeding, cuddling and caring for the young boy.
Not only had he lost his mother, his father and his brother to the second Ebola outbreak, the worst infectious disease catastrophe in recorded history, but the rest of his family had all turned their backs on Faraja. UNICEF’s psychosocial assistants try to place children with family members, not an easy task bearing in mind the economic burden that bringing up additional children represents and the fear of contracting the disease.
Only Kanyere Kachelewa, his maternal aunt worried about Faraja’s future. After having spent a month at the nursery the little boy would be taken care of by his aunt who promised to bring him up as one of her own. UNICEF will continue to support Kanyere and Faraja in order to provide them with support appropriate to their physical, psychological and social needs.
“Faraja means ‘consolation’ in Swahili”, explains Edwige who is particularly attached to this little boy. “I wish him a long and healthy life”, concludes Edwige, happy to have been able to bring love and comfort to this small being who lost his mother far too soon.
Since the beginning of the Ebola epidemic in eastern DRC, UNICEF and its partners have supported over 8,000 orphans or children who separated from their parents because of Ebola.
UNICEF’s response to the Ebola epidemic is supported by the World Bank, the European Commission – European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, Gavi - the Vaccine Alliance, the United States Agency for International Development, the Central Emergency Response Fund and the Government of Japan. UNICEF is also supported by the German Committee for UNICEF, the World Bank Group’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, the United Kingdom and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.