Millions Raised for Thousands of Ebola Orphans in Africa
October 28, 2014 - By Steve James - CNBC
Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in three West African countries, but it has also orphaned thousands of children. This has aid organizations scrambling to care for them, in addition to fighting a disease that has fear and stigma attached to it.
Carolyn Miles, CEO and president of Save the Children, said her organization estimates there are more than 4,000 orphaned children in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia—ground zero for the killer disease. Save the Children has so far raised $1.2 million in donations from the American public, with an estimated $800,000 in the pipeline from corporate partners. It also expects some $10 million in government funding from the U.S. and Britain, she said.
"Before this is over, I think it will be a $20 million to $25 million response," Miles told CNBC.
UNICEF, the United Nations' children's body, is also running a campaign to attract donors to fight Ebola. It advertises that it will match every dollar, thanks to a $3.6 million gift from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. It has so far raised $12.7 million but has already maxed out on the gift.
"The disease has grown exponentially, and needs have outgrown funding," said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She added that the Ebola outbreak has been designated a Level 3 emergency by the world body. "In my career, I have never seen five Level 3's at once."
In addition to Ebola, there is the Syrian refugee crisis and conflicts in Iraq, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, she told CNBC. "That means we are fighting the clock on Ebola."
In addition to the usual aid, such as food, water, tents, medical equipment and supplies, Stern said UNICEF is training Ebola survivors to care for orphaned children during their 21-day isolation period. "That is empowering survivors who understand the fear and the pain. For a child, it can be a very scary time."
The world body is also sending mostly girls door-to-door in the poor West Point section of Monrovia, Liberia, to educate people about the disease.