Words from the field: Frances, Liberia

For more than 30 years, Frances and her pastor husband Jackson have been pillars of their community, taking in orphaned and abandoned children and offering a home and a safe place to those in need. But in early 2015 Jackson contracted Ebola while comforting a member of his parish – and he died, leaving Frances with 11 children, aged four to 17, to support alone.

Some of the children are old enough to help out, and together they have developed a small business making and selling bricks, using a grant from Street Child’s Family Business Scheme to buy cement. But Frances wants all of the children to have an education, and so during the day they are all at school.

Frances is receiving psychosocial support from Street Child’s Ebola team, to help her cope with losing her husband and the fear she feels when she thinks about the family’s future. She is too devastated to talk very much about what has happened, but does say this:

“The most frightening time was when they quarantined us, for 21 days. We could not leave the house at all, and we were afraid we would starve. The community has come to help us so far, and sometimes they bring us food. But it’s very hard for me.”