Children's Emergency Fund
Nobody knows when the next crisis will strike, but your support helps Save the Children provide assistance in the critical first hours and days of an emergency when children need us most. When generous people like you make your 100% tax-deductible gift, children's lives are saved and their futures are brighter.

The Ebola Crisis

The world's largest Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2014. Across the three worst-affected countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – almost 25,000 people were infected, including more than 3,600 children. During the outbreak, at least 16,000 children lost one or more of their parents, and many of those children were stigmatized by communities fearful of being infected.

Beyond the disease itself, the epidemic posed a number of dangers to children:

  • When unaccompanied or separated children are admitted to treatment centers or become orphaned, they risk distress and exploitation. They are in urgent need of family tracing, reunification and reintegration, alternative care, psychosocial support and assistance in meeting day-to-day needs.
  • Children's access to health care was compromised. Already weak health systems suffered under the strain of the outbreak, which reversed considerable gains made in recent years to curb maternal and child deaths.
  • UNICEF estimated school closures affected the education of more than 5 million children. Once children are out of school, many never return. As a result, they were at risk of engaging in exploitative situations, such as child labor.

Save the Children’s Response

With a long-term presence in West Africa, Save the Children was at the heart of the crisis from the start.

In Liberia, our supporters helped us establish two Community Care Centers, which identified, triaged, tested and referred patients to our Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs). There those infected were treated in isolation wards and provided expert medical care and treatment. Community health workers and midwives were trained on infection prevention, provided health care facilities with urgently needed medical supplies, set up hand-washing stations, and supplied food and water to Ebola patients. Tireless relief workers rehabilitated and supplied transit centers for children, helped identify foster families to care for orphans, and distributed education kits to households with quarantined children.

In Sierra Leone, the generosity of people like you helped establish an 80-bed Ebola Treatment Unit in Kerry Town with over 500 frontline medical staff. Staff at primary health clinics were given supplies and training for infection prevention and control. Our dedicated staff led the scale-up of child registration, family tracing and reunification activities. Families in need were provided counseling, food and clothing to children who returned to their families or to an alternative caregiver. Orphaned and unaccompanied children were given financial support, as well as toys, clothes and food at interim care centers for girls and boys with no place to call home.

In Guinea, our experts trained health workers, volunteers, Ministry of Transport workers and teachers on Ebola prevention and protection messages, conducted general awareness-raising and radio programs and strengthened national and local health systems with contact tracing, surveillance and transportation support. Thanks to tremendous support, we also provided protection kits (soap and other supplies) to health centers, schools, public services and transportation stations; and provided emotional, nutritional and social support for children whose families were affected by Ebola. 


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