Bandu Kamarah sits on the porch of her modest mudbrick home in the Dogo Barracks area of Kenema.

Her biological children have all grown and moved on, but Bandu (a local petty trader whose husband worked as a district forest officer and passed away ten years ago) has a full house once again.

With the recent Ebola epidemic sweeping through her city leaving scores dead, and the imposition of a three-month quarantine shutting all major roads leading into and out of the city, Bandu wanted to help those who could not help themselves. Hearing about a local Kidsave event at the City Council Hall for prospective host and permanent families to meet children in need, she decided to step forward.

The children at the Kidsave event were living in an interim care center set up by the city government to take in children who had no family capable of caring for them. As Moriva Conteh, a member of the local child protection committee who helps identify children for the Kidsave program said, “Many people were afraid to take the children and would often leave them in the houses where their families died.”

After attending the event, five of the children made visits from the care center to Bandu’s home and she decided to take in all of them. She now has three boys ages 13, 6, and 5, and two girls, 12 and 4. As she says, “I love the children. They were in a terrible situation and I wanted to help them. I love them. I don’t know who they might be tomorrow. They have great potential.”

Fatmata, the oldest of the girls, dreams of one day becoming a nurse so that she can, “care for the sick.”

“They are my children,” says Bandu. “No difference between them. They are my real children.”


Kidsave is committed to helping the people of Sierra Leone rebuild family connections and provide orphaned African children with the opportunity to grow up in permanent families. We are hopeful this program will be the inspiration for more hosting programs that lead to permanent family care for orphans throughout Africa.

Please help us in this mission

For more information contact Kristoff Kohlhagen, Manager of Kidsave Sierra Leone, at kristoffk@kidsave.org or call him in DC at (202) 503-3100.