Please help orphanage under threat from deadly Ebola virus - Honingham woman’s plea
- Credit: Archant
A Honingham woman is appealing for donations to help her friend's orphanage in Sierra Leone, which is under threat from the deadly Ebola virus.
Frances Middleton said she is calling once more on the generosity of Eastern Daily Press readers, who raised more than £3,000 in 2009 to help rebuild her friend Ngadie Turay's home for children and school in the village of Sembehun in the south of the country.
But the global economic crisis and the threat of the Ebola virus, which has so far claimed more than 1,400 lives in West Africa, means money is desperately needed at the orphanage - to feed the children and pay for medicine.
Mrs Middleton met Ngadie and saw the important work she carries out while on a VSO trip to Freetown in 2009. She has kept in touch with her ever since and following her visit, a baby who came into Ngadie's care was named Frances after her.
The orphanage is home to between 40 and 50 children, whose parents have died of AIDS or other diseases, whose families are too large to look after them or whose mothers have died in childbirth.
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'Ngadie's worries about her 'family' have doubled,' said Mrs Middleton.
'Not only food - the price of which has soared in the marketplace, but also medicine, of some sort, to try and keep her children safe. I cannot imagine the nightmares this scenario has meant for her, apart from I have read her emails and she needs money desperately.'
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The Ebola outbreak, which has been traced back to a two-year-old girl, who died in December 2013 in Meliandou, a small village in south-eastern Guinea, spread to Sierra Leone last month.
Mrs Middleton said she often thinks about the children at the orphanage and the little girl who was named after her, who she calls 'small Frances'.
'Her mother died in childbirth and she was taken to Ngadie because there was no one else to look after her,' she said.
'She was so small and weak, people didn't think she would survive. But she did and she is five now - the same age as one of my grandsons.'
There is no fundraising target, people are just being asked to donate anything they can, so Mrs Middleton can send the money out to Sierra Leone and help an 'exhausted Christian woman' to cope with the new danger to her community.
'It's particularly a reaction to the headlines that people far away are getting Ebola - but they are not getting any help,' said Mrs Middleton.
'You cannot live like that in a global community - we should be helping each other.'
Anyone who can help is asked to send a cheque, payable to Frances Middleton to 24, Mill Lane, Honingham, Norwich, NR9 5AF or call 01603 880345.
'If you would like to help, I can assure you that the money will reach her and she will know how to use it,' she said.
Are you trying to help a worthy cause? Email reporter Catherine Morris-Gretton at email@example.com