Youth Respond to the Other Ebola Crisis

Published on November 7, 2014 | Written by

givemn2liberian_schools_011314.0238 copyEbola is a health crisis that has impacted thousands: nearly 5,000 West Africans have died from the outbreak. But the health crisis is spurring what Youthprise is calling “the other Ebola crisis”. The other crisis is disproportionately impacting youth: schools are closed; there is an increase in the number of orphans; and there are severe food shortages.

As both of these Ebola crises continue, we’ve been inspired by the youth-led response near the capital city of Monrovia. West Point, the first area to be quarantined, is now home to the “A-Life” initiative: 200+ girls who go door-to-door sharing public health messages.

The A-Life girls recognize that an embedded issue within the larger crisis is isolation, as schools and central gathering places close. From Minnesota, we can help bridge the looming education gap, knowing that any meaningful response must be a sustained response.

Closer to home, Meeting of the Mindz, a youth performance company that uses arts to address social issues, is creating a play about Ebola that will hopefully inspire deep introspection and reflection about the value of a life, the interconnectedness of two continents and a disappointing western response to Ebola. While we may not be able to directly address the lack of understanding about the Ebola virus and how it spreads, we can remind the world that the ultimate solution to ending Ebola can be found in the ingenuity of youth, and their relentless hope for a just equitable world.

As an intermediary, a role for Youthprise is to elevate young people’s solutions to community issues. In that vein, Youthprise is catalyzing youth action on the Ebola crisis, with the help of four strategic partners:

1. International Book Bank, which will coordinate delivery of text books to youth who are being schooled at home in Liberia and Sierra Leone;

2. youthrive, which will coordinate educational toy drives in connection with their peace-building initiative and conference, the Nobel Peace Prize Youth Festival March 6;

3. Impact Lives, which will donate food and help raise awareness of the Ebola crisis through their service-learning curriculum; and

4. The International Leadership Institute, which will help coordinate logistics in partnership with other relief efforts.

Please join us in one or all of the following ways:

  • Donate to the “Youth-Led Response to the Ebola Crisis” project through GiveMN and Youthprise will in turn re-grant funds to our strategic partners for their response efforts;
  • Upload stories of what you’re already doing to Youthprise’s Facebook page, using the hashtag #youthRespond;
  • Share your best ideas with us on twitter by tweeting @Youthprise and using the hastag #youthrespond; and
  • Join the Movement: If you or your organizations want to partner with us in a sustained coordinated response, please send an email to Lizzy Shramko, lizzy@youthprise.org.

Because Minnesota is home to the largest population of Liberians outside of Liberia, our connections to this crisis run deep.

Want more information on Ebola and how it is impacting people? Below is a quick reading guide with articles that share information about the crisis and combat misinformation that is being spread. Please share these with your networks:

An article on the A-Life girls and their impact. 

Map of the Africa without Ebola from the Washington Post.

An article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on a professor who reached out to quarantined students in Liberia.

Liberia Ebola Daily Sitrep.

 

 

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