“I was living with my family on Rayhill Field and they got sick and died from Ebola,” 10-year-old Ishmael Nuah grappling with emotion managed to lament his ordeal. He and several kids across the country have lost their beloved parents to the Ebola killer disease.

Liberia is one of three West African country hardest hit by the Ebola virus epidemic that has killed an estimated 6,000 people in the region.

Now, that the virus is scaling down in Liberia, which recorded the highest Ebola fatality rate, the story of little Ishmael Nuah and other affected children shade light into the aftermath effect of this disastrous epidemic.

Seeking the well being of the orphans community, rebuilding collapsed health system, shattered economy and provision of education are looming issues requiring intervention from local and global actors. For some reasons, the effect of the crisis in Liberia is more pronounced.

The country’s domestic economy has shrunk into recession with growth rate projected at negative zero point four percent. Undoubtedly, the portion of the population badly hit by this recession is the nation’s poor many of whom are feeling the crunch of the Ebola outbreak.

With this, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) viewing the level of humanitarian crisis unfolding, has been making some interventions relative to providing assistance to Ebola survivors and addressing general health issues.

In November OSIWA’’s Monrovia Office announced plans to provide grants that will help rebuild the country’s health system. Liberia’s poor health infrastructure was amongst factors blamed for the uncontrolled spread of the virus.

Now, OSIWA has set its sight on seeking the welfare of children who survived the virus and those rendered orphans. The Christmas season is one point of the year most children measure the degree of love their parents have for them. During this time, parents provide gifts for their children to celebrate the Christian festival. But for children who lost their parents during the Ebola crisis the story is different.

Seeing other kids in the community living happily with their parents, provides emotional reflection of their ordeal. But how could they be made happy and maintain the sense of human dignity.

“We believe at this time children are used to having nice Christmas. We want to make sure that these orphans and Ebola survivors are able to also enjoy Christmas,” Massa Crayton, the Country Director for OSIWA Monrovia Office said at the weekend [Friday 12 December], when she and her staff visited Ebola orphans on the Old Road community in the Liberian Capital -Monrovia.

“Whatever has happened to them [orphans and survivors] they should not take it as a curse against them but as a blessing because at least out of so many persons that were affected, they were able to make it,” she said.

OSIWA has also been working with civil society organizations in Liberia to provide assistance to survivors of the virus. Uriah Kear is Coordinator for the Ebola Survivors Network at Liberia’s Health Ministry. For him Ebola Survivors are hero and OSIWA’S contribution has been overwhelming. “I want for other Nongovernmental organizations to see the good work that OSIWA is doing in Liberia and do the same. I’m proud of these people,” he said.

The Ages of these orphans range from four-month-old to seventeen year old. While providing them with gifts which include cloth and food is good another crucial aspect needing serious assistance is their education.

“I’m in the first grade and I want to go back to school and become a medical doctor to help other people,” 10-year-old Ishmael Nuah told this writer and his goal of being a medical doctor seems to be highly inspired by the heroism of health workers in the country who have been battling the disease relentlessly with some have a tragic end.

But what possibility is there for Ishmael’s ambitious dream to come true? This kid lives in a country with very little opportunity for people mainly the poor to realize their potential. Liberia’s education system before the Ebola outbreak, in the words of its President Ellen Johnson -Sirleaf was a mess. Since the outbreak sometime February this year, schools across the West African nation remain shutdown.

With the virus now on the decline in Liberia, Ishmael and other children could be back in school. Yet the pressing question is this: who pays their fees?

Massa Craytn:“We [OSIWA] are looking forward to next year where we may help them when schools are reopened. We will see how we can provide some initial startup educational park for them”. Ebola could be leaving Liberia but its aftermath is challenging.