Ebola. A disease that has decimated families, orphaned children and shattered fragile health systems and economies in West Africa. A disease that continues to kill. The EU and its Member States mobilised substantial resources – people, equipment and funding – to defeat the virus from the start and have made available over €1.8 billion for humanitarian aid, long-term development and research. EU Member States have sent critical supplies and expertise via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which has played a key role in the coordination of the fight against Ebola.
Many children in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been and often are still exposed to traumatic experiences linked to the epidemic. Some have suffered stigma and discrimination in their community because of their family's or their own illness. 16 000 children have lost one or two parents, and many have lost friends. Millions of children have been deprived of their right to education and exposed to risks such as dropping out of school, particularly among girls, and child labour.
The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is supporting children in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to rebuild their lives after Ebola. In Guinea and Sierra Leone, two educational projects are being developed under the EU Children of Peace initiative by UNICEF and Save the Children.
A photography exhibition illustrating personal stories of Ebola-affected children and the EU assistance to these children will be on display in the Piazza area of the Berlaymont building (Rue de la Loi 200, Brussels) from 7 to 23 September 2015. See the digital version of the exhibition here.
Photo credits: EU/ECHO/Jonathan Hyams