“We’re truly all together, improvising with each other, child, clown and teacher. In the moments of laughter and wonder, we find ourselves all on equal turf.”
-Tim Cunningham, CWB – USA board member and performing artist
CWB – USA partnered with CWB – Sweden to bring resilience, spark moments of joy, and create space for children to deal with the difficult issues and emotions resulting from the epidemic.
The project was based in the city Portée and its surroundings. We also worked in the Kumra Bay province, located about 150 km from Freetown. Portée is a shanty town that was severely impacted by the epidemic. Many children were orphaned, forced to witness traumatic scenes of bodies being transported away from their homes. Several children were enrolled in Ebola centers without their families being contacted. The School of Portée was forced to stay closed for almost two years and the area was quarantined on multiple occasions.
The objective of this project was to reach out to children affected by Ebola and help recapture a sense of childhood. We performed at schools and at public squares, to reach children who did not attend school. CWB also worked with street children and children who were ostracized because their entire family, or they themselves, were infected.
The 2014–2015 Ebola epidemic severely impacted the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 14,000 people were infected in Sierra Leone, out of which more than 4,000 died, leaving families and children behind.
The project was planned in close collaboration with the Association of Friends of Portée and the local partner organization Future of Sierra Leone. The importance of play has been particularly important in the work of the Association of Friends of Portée. These two organizations have provided services for vulnerable children in Sierra Leone for 10 years. Many of the affected children carry unprocessed trauma from the epidemic, and there is a great need to enhance children’s psychosocial health.
CWB – USA follows United Nations naming conventions for all countries, nations, and territories, along with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To read more about our Code of Ethics, click here.