A Source of Hope During the Ebola Crisis

The 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic was the largest in history. The outbreak claimed the lives of more than 11,300 people and affected multiple African countries.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa impacted every aspect of life in Sierra Leone," said Laura Horvath, African Programs Director for CRC. "The funds we received on GivingTuesday allowed our staff the flexibility to adjust our programs as the outbreak continued to evolve.

During the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, Child Rescue Center (CRC), Advance #14377A kept children academically-focused with newly-created educational programs, thanks to UMC #GivingTuesday donations.

As new cases continued to be reported throughout Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the leadership staff of Child Rescue Center (CRC), in Sierra Leone saw an opportunity to create new programs that would keep their children engaged, encouraged, and educationally inspired.

CRC, a program of Helping Children Worldwide, a US-based Christian non-profit organization, is no stranger to crisis. Established in 2000, CRC initially supported the feeding of 40 abandoned street children in Bo Town, Sierra Leone, as the country emerged from a devastating 11-year civil war that was known for its brutality to civilians and enrollment of child soldiers. Shortly after opening, the CRC expanded into a residential facility to house, clothe, feed, and educate the 40 children. Today, CRC offers life-changing programs to nearly 400 children who struggle to survive in desperate situations of abject poverty and neglect.

When the schools were closed across the nation, students at CRC focused on core academics such as English, math, and science, using tablet technology through the newly-implemented "CRC School of Champions." The UMC #GivingTuesday donations allowed CRC to purchase tablets, software programs, and also upgrade the bandwidth at the residential compound, boosting their connectivity and helping the students grow stronger and smarter in their technology capabilities.

Another new initiative made possible through UMC #GivingTuesday donations, was the creation of the "CRC Cares Radio Program," which provided hope-filled messages to families impacted by the ongoing Ebola crisis and provided them with academic lessons and uplifting messages in their time of uncertainty.

The broadcast awarded prizes for correct answers to academic questions—and for the best joke, song, or story. During a recent broadcast, a boy called in and won half a bag of rice for the song he sang on air. When the staff of the radio program arrived at his home to deliver the rice, his mother said that they had no food left in the house. She felt very fortunate and blessed that her son had won the contest.

Adapted, Judith Santiago, Editorial and Content Coordinator, Global Ministries.

The Advance is the accountable, designated-giving arm of The United Methodist Church. The Advance invites contributors to designate support for projects related to the General Board of Global Ministries. Individuals, local churches, organizations, districts and annual conferences may donate to The Advance. One hundred percent of every gift to The Advance goes to the project selected by the giver.