Haverhill couple helping to ease the plight of Ebola survivors
The Feed Our People Campaign was conceived by Hannah and Dr Jonathan Tengbe, who both originate from the West African country but have lived in Haverhill for 11 years.
With the help of the Methodist Church in Haverhill, of which she is a member, Hannah has been gathering donations of food, clothing and life essential items for shipment to Sierra Leone.
The idea was originally motivated by a personal connection and was driven even more by the death of her 45-year-old sister Christiana, who lived in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.
Social worker Hannah, who came up with the idea last October, explained: “I lost cousins and friends directly to Ebola, friends who were in the health profession, and indirectly as well.
“I lost my sister in November. She didn’t have Ebola but I’m sure if there were not issues with Ebola she may have lived.
“The problem is that when people feel ill they refuse to go into hospital just because of the fear of getting the infection.”
An Ebola-specific blood test showed Christiana didn’t die of the disease but her cause of death was never identified.
“The campaign was up and running by then, but I suppose her death is going to motivate us even more,” added Hannah, who lives in Shannon Close.
Figures from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention show that as of January 21 there have been 10,340 cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone resulting in 3,145 deaths.
Hannah said: “Once the items get there the plan is to get them to specific hospitals that we have identified so that when people go in with Ebola, the hospitals can give clothes to people because people with Ebola will have to have all their clothes burnt.
“It has caused so much devastation that there is no way that people are going to survive without help.”
The Methodist Church’s minister, Nigel Bishop, said of the response to the appeal: “It’s really incredible. “You never know what to expect but people have been really generous.”