meta content='width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0' name='viewport'/>

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Farming for Karma Cola has brought new prosperity to the village Photo credit: Simon Coley

Farming for Karma Cola has brought new prosperity to the village Photo credit: Simon Coley

Sierra Leone is one of the West African countries struck by Ebola in 2014, simultaneously with Liberia and the Republic of Guinea.

The horrific Ebola virus killed thousands in the worst outbreak the world has seen when it hit West and Central Africa in 2014.

The fast-spreading virus which liquefies internal organs and kills six in 10 victims was at one point feared to be completely out of control, with cases having no known vaccine or treatment.

Since February 2014, almost 28,000 people across Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have been struck down by the Ebola virus, and more than 11,000 died - with at least 4,000 in Sierra Leone. The virus is among the most lethal diseases known to man.

Outbreaks typically occurred in remote villages, near tropical rainforests. The spread of the disease is worsened by mistrust of western medicine in some African communities.

But a year after Sierra Leone was being declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation, there have been some incredible changes.

The images of aid workers from MSF and the Red Cross in protective clothing treating sick and dying people of all ages have been replaced by happy and healthy villagers in these wonderful photographs.

The snaps document how the country are moving forward following not only the worst recorded Ebola outbreak since the disease was first diagnosed in 1976, but also post a civil war that tore them and their country apart.

These are a snapshot of a community whose resilience, strength and determination to get their country back on the track go beyond measure.

The Red Cross reports that people in Sierra Leone are starting to rebuild their lives following the deadly Ebola outbreak.

Although it was declared free of Ebola in November 2015, the disease's impact will still be felt for many years to come, but positive changes are afoot.
This month four entrepreneurs, who do business in Sierra Leone, headed to the rural villages for the first time since the Ebola outbreak.

They wanted to see how the people are faring a year on and somehow the people in these villages look happier than some of their friends in the west. They don’t need pity or charity or a handout, they just need a hand up.

Simon Coley is the co-founder of Fairtrade soft drink company Karma Cola which has worked with cola growers in remote rural communities of Sierra Leone since 2008.

For every bottle of Karma Cola sold proceeds go back to the people who grow cola in Boma village, Sierra Leone, helping them rebuild their war-torn communities through the Karma Cola Foundation.
Coly told 

“For the first time since the Ebola outbreak, we went back to Boma Village, where we source our cola, to reconnect with the people there and see how proceeds from the sale of Karma Cola are helping rebuild their lives."

"We met pretty much the entire village standing on a bridge that the fund we set up helped build.

He went on: "I thought my world had changed a little bit the first time I visited Boma Village three years ago. But this time it was equally impressive.

"Just understanding that what we can we do with a small indulgence such as a soft drink, can create so much good at the other end of the supply chain. It’s really reassuring to see that it’s actually real in practice.”

Albert Tucker, who leads the Karma Cola Foundation, was involved in the Sierra Leone UK Ebola Taskforce, which looked at the economic and other impacts of the Ebola outbreak.

The Karma Cola Foundation was set up to work with the people to figure out the best use of that money and, through the sale of over a million bottles of Karma Cola, the Foundation has been able to send US$90,000 directly to the Boma Village.

But they don’t tell the villagers what to do with the funds, they let them decide.
Ebola is not the only disease that Sierra Leoneans have had to contend with. They face a number of diseases stemming from dirty water and hygiene issues.

Only 60 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water. Dirty water gives rise to waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid.

No comments:

Post a Comment