By Sanpha Sesay
August 1, 2015: Dallas Texas, USA. At least, after almost 14 months since the Ebola virus ravaged Sierra Leone and West Africa, the non-governmental organization (NGO), Restore Hope, is facing other challenges and new realities of restoring hope in the lives of the people of Sierra Leone.
Partnering with other non-profit organizations including the Association of Sierra Leonean Organization in Texas (ASLOT), private sectors, and other philanthropies, Restore Hope is hosting a post Ebola summit to act in concert with one single goal of restoring hopes to the people of Sierra Leone after the extinction of the Ebola epidemic in the country. The summit will be held in Arlington Texas on August 13 & 14 2015.
The two day summit will be focusing on the status of the nation, post-Ebola recovery, and needed strategies to enhance opportunities for the people of Sierra Leone. It will also provide the organization with an exploratory opportunity for partnership and collaborate with other non-government organizations that have the same interest of post Ebola recovery in Sierra Leone.
According to Aaron Pierce, Director of Community development and Relief for Restore Hope, attendees to this summit will be from different regions of the country representing different organizations and interests.
DR. ALUSINE JALLOH
The workshop is a collaborative venture with individuals and many other non-profit organizations that will contribute to the post Ebola strategies. Key components of discussions are, planning healthy Churches in Sierra Leone, discussion about child welfare and protection, planning how to help without creating dependency, strategizing team safety and crisis management, and community engagement strategies.
The person desired to be accredited for the Restore Hope operation in Sierra Leone is Professor Dr. Alusine Jalloh and his African program at the University of Texas in Arlington. Professor Jalloh is the founder and Director of the African program at the University of Texas in Arlington. He is also the founder of social work Department at Fourah-Bay College is the main architect of Restore Hope projects in Sierra Leone, Mr. Aaron Pierce stated.
Mr. Pierce also recognizes another key Sierra Leonean at the Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan area of Texas to be on board with Restore Hope in their execution to alleviate many social issues in Sierra Leone. Mr. Patrick Jackson has been very active and continuously participating in the agency’s Ebola response projects in the country. He is always involved in creating vibrant community that is significantly geared towards reducing the human, social and economic cost of poverty for Sierra Leone. Mr. Patrick Jackson is the president of Krio Descendant Union (KDU) and he has rose to the rank of Deputy Mayor in one of the cities in Texas.
At this post Ebola summit in Arlington Texas, local communities’ participation is crucial for their response to the post Ebola recovery. The participation of Sierra Leoneans is vital in the challenges of raising awareness in health, education and community development according to Restore Hope, Mr. Aaron Pierce. It is all about awareness raising workshops regarding issues like Ebola orphanage victims and how to organize social mobilization activities for communities in villages and towns. It will also help to guide and strengthen public health capacity to better respond to future public health emergencies in Sierra Leone. Therefore, it is incumbent to all Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leonean organizations across the United States to participate in this laudable summit.
The 2014 outbreak of Ebola virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa has claimed thousands of lives, and according to World Health Organization (WHO), fatality is more than previous outbreaks combined. It has caused a high case fatality rate and infection of several local and foreign health care workers in the region. It was because of this factor that Restore Hope expanded its effort of having different projects and now designing a development of a policy framework for reducing the social and economic cost of poverty that the disease had caused in Sierra Leone.
After serving as a volunteer group in the country in 2008, Restore Hope started operating as a non-profit organization in 2009. The main goal was to bring lasting hope and health to the country through sustainable development resulting in transformed lives, reliable infrastructure, social responsibility and capacity for continued development. Hence, its holistic development work has been largely concentrated in Sierra Leone with disaster relief efforts serving Niger and Japan as well.
Restore Hope and another organization called Kinexxus merged after several years of collaboration with a view to render services into Church mobilization, business service, and community development and relief. According to Mr. Aaron Pierce during our telephone conversation, Restore Hope has grown out of the hearts of individuals who have a long and profound love for the Sierra Leone people. Professor Dr. Alusine Jalloh, the architect of Restore Hope projects to Sierra Leone made his first contact with the Director of Global Connection Partnership Network (GCPN) which later became partnership with Restore Hope. Dr. Jalloh’s ambitions and aspirations were to find ways of helping his people in Sierra Leone after the civil war. Restore Hope and GCPN partnership focuses on the needs of West Africa in general and Sierra Leone in particular.