In the fight against Ebola, it has typically been doctors and nurses who get named the heroes. And for good reason – these medical professionals, like those from Doctors Without Borders, put their lives at risk to help others. But in Liberia, there’s another type of activist fighting the deadly virus: teenage girls.
A recent article in The Daily Beast tells the story of A-LIFE: Adolescents Leading an Intense Fight Against Ebola. The organization is making important strides on the ground in educating and raising awareness about the virus. And the whole thing is led by some incredibly awesome teens. Read more about their story below, and get the whole story over at The Daily Beast.
Meet the Liberian Girls Beating Ebola
By: Abby Haglage
Two hundred girls are weaving in and out of dirty alleys in the seaside slum of West Point, Liberia. One man, straddling a large drum, keeps time as their voices rise in song: “Believe it, people, Ebola can kill.” Passers-by emerge from concrete buildings to watch the girls, now nearly dancing down the dirt roads in rows of two. One voice rises above the others: “Let’s come together to stop Ebola.”
The march, held Sept. 17, marked the official launch of Adolescents Leading an Intense Fight Against Ebola, or A-LIFE. Made up of girls aged 16-19 and a handful of boys around the same age, the group was formed to spread awareness and education about Ebola to help curb its spread in their community. The group members came up with the name themselves and launched their mission on their own. They have already reached more than 4,000 homes in West Point.
Their community, their city, their country, desperately needs them.
Of the 10,141 cases and 4,922 deaths from Ebola reported by the World Health Organization this week, more than half are in Liberia. Experts from the WHO say the real toll is likely 2.5 times more than their recorded numbers for cases and deaths in Liberia—which now stand at 4,665 and 2,705, respectively. Guinea, where the epidemic began, has half as many cases as Liberia.
The story of this teenage mission to spread awareness about Ebola began two years ago, when UNICEF launched an educational group for girls in West Point. The neighborhood is extremely dangerous—even in a country with one of the highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence in the world. UNICEF’s group was formed in 2012, with the intention of teaching young girls how to protect themselves from sexual violence.