A 16-year-old orphan, Hawa Koroma, who survived Ebola, tells how she was abandoned after her mother died, then taken in by her neighbor who promised to care for her but ultimately abused, raped, and abandoned her.
“I was left with nobody, and no hope,” Koroma said with tears falling from her face.
According to Mirror, at the age of 15, Koroma’s mother died shortly after contracting the Ebola disease, which left Koroma an orphan child.
Koromoa also contracted Ebola but survived.
Once her mother died, her male next door neighbor offered to take her in and care for her, but it was only a ploy to get closer to Koroma to sexually abuse her.
“The man promised to look after me. I believed him. Then he began to want me to sleep with him. Straight away, he disappeared.”
The Ebola survivor is now 16 years old and four months pregnant by her neighbor, who took off after discovering she was pregnant. She now resides in an orphanage and survives off of handouts given by U.K. Charity Street Child.
George Quaker – who is a worker at the charity — said “Hawa is one of so many young girls who have been taken advantage of – some violently.
“It is one of the biggest tragedies that has surfaced in Sierra Leone since the Ebola crisis began being brought under control.”
Koroma is currently out of school, but the charity hopes to get her back into school along with other children living on the street.
“When my mother was killed by Ebola I was left alone with nobody to turn to. I had nothing, no hope at all. My father was already dead,” Koroma said.
When her community discovered she and her mother contracted Ebola, they shunned her, forcing her to fend for herself.
“I feared I would die here in the shack that I shared with my mother. I contracted Ebola from my mother but after weeks in quarantine I survived the disease.”
“It was then that I met the man promised he would look after me. He seemed kind and friendly and began to show me affection. It was the first time anyone had shown me care since Ebola and I believed him.”
“He began making all sorts of promises to me about how he could help. Then he went further and began to want me to sleep with him,” she added.
“As soon as this happened he disappeared and I have never seen him since. Nobody knows where he has gone.”
Although the loss of her mother and father left her devastated, she says “I am determined to get through this somehow. Street Child has been good to me and has helped me cope.”
“It is going to be very difficult for me to raise a child in this situation but I will find a way.”
“I am not allowed to return to school because the government says that girls who are pregnant set a bad example for the rest of the children. This was not my choice.”
[Image courtesy of Mirror]