Ebola and the Children of Sierra Leone

Claudena SkranHow did children experience the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone?  This talk examines the lives of children in diverse settings, from urban Freetown to the rural provinces.  The story starts with the closure of schools in the country for eight months and examines the impact of this on the education of children.  The talk also highlights the plight of an estimated 12,000 orphans, children who lost one or both parents.  Using real life stories, the talk also shows how medical interventions, such as 21-day quarantines and hospitalization, are viewed from a child’s perspective. The talk concludes by discussing the social problems generated by the epidemic, including early marriage and teen pregnancy.

Professor Claudena Skran teaches African politics and international relations at Lawrence University.  An Appleton resident since 1990, she first went to Sierra Leone as a Fulbright scholar to study humanitarian assistance project for refugees in 2005. The author of a United Nations report on refugees in Sierra Leone, Prof. Skran has taken over 60 students to the country as volunteers and researchers since then.  She is also the founder of Kidsgive, a scholarship program for children in Sierra Leone.