Mietta is 16 years old. Six months ago she was living with her parents in a tiny, remote village in the center of Liberia, east of Monrovia. That was before Ebola took them both, within three days of each other.
"My Pa, he passed away first," she says. "Then my Ma got sick". When her mother knew she was dying, she gave Mietta a bundle of Liberian dollars, which she had secretly saved for an emergency, and told Mietta to make her way to Monrovia, to find help and to escape any prejudice she might face from her neighbors for being connected to Ebola.
Armed with the money - about $15USD in total - Mietta fled her home and the fearful aggression of her neighbors, and headed for the bush, where she slept rough for several nights. While there, she was approached by a man who told her he could get her into a school in Monrovia. Knowing that this is what her mother had wanted for her, she agreed to go with the man; but he raped her, and when they arrived in the city he sold her to another man, who also raped her and told her to marry him.
Mietta refused and so he threw her out of his house, and onto the streets of Monrovia, late at night. With nowhere to go, and not knowing the area, all she could do was run as far away from his house as possible, and sleep rough at the side of the road, hiding behind a derelict building for safety. She lived there for several days and nights, scavenging for food during the day, until an elderly woman walking past one day saw her crying and took her in.
Mietta now lives permanently with the elderly woman, Cecilia, but is not back at school yet; when she did attend she was bullied for not having a uniform, which marked her out as being poor, and as an Ebola orphan. She has also developed flashbacks and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her many bad experiences.
How your support helped
Fortunately, our amazing supporters were able to help Mietta. We have allocated money for a uniform for her, and have paid for one semester of school fees, so that she can return to learning - and a normal routine - as quickly as possible. She is also able to access weekly counselling, to help her overcome her experiences of loss, homelessness, and violence. Find out more about Street Child's Ebola response here.
"I want to learn. I want to work', Mietta says. "I want to set up my own office and be a banker, or a doctor. I want to work in the city. Street Child helped me fine. They talked to me, they encouraged me to take my education seriously. And they make me feel better about my situation."
From both Street Child and Mietta - a huge thank you to everyone who made this possible.