Reducing Stress in a Time of Ebola

July 6, 2015 • Liberia
Liberia ebola blog

A program in Liberia helped reduce anxiety among children and adults during the Ebola outbreak

Joseph Kettor is a program manager with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia.

In 2012 and 2013, Beatrice Mennah participated in active fellowship, a Samaritan’s Purse program that helps children develop life skills and learn other important lessons while teaching them about Jesus Christ. She is the product of our volunteers exhibiting leadership qualities taught through the program.

During the vigorous Ebola prevention messages by Samaritan’s Purse, I saw Beatrice having sessions with the children in the absence of the leaders that were no longer living in that community. I asked Beatrice why she chose to play with children during Ebola even after others had left.

Reducing Stress in a Time of Ebola

Beatrice used active fellowship to teach children about the importance of good hygiene while Ebola raged in surrounding areas.

“It’s easy for children to learn about anything when they are playing,” she said. “Children [are] inside all day, so I decided to play with them and teach them about washing hands.”

One of the men in the community watched as Beatrice showed the children how to wash their hands. I asked him what he thought of children playing together during Ebola.

“Beatrice broke [the] silence in our town these [past] few days,” he said. “Even the adults when seeing them playing, we can forget slightly about the stress of Ebola.”

Active fellowship created a lasting impact. Many of the leaders trained in the community have left, but the participants are imitating and continuing active fellowship-related activities.

During the heat of Ebola, it reduced stress for both children and adults. Now as we begin recovery efforts, it will be an important tool to teach children about hygiene.