For more than a year, the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has been facing the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history. Over 2000 people are reported dead. Unique to this particular outbreak is the significant and disproportionate amount of women that have died from the virus. Many of these fallen women were mothers who left behind babies and toddlers. Happy Baby is giving the gift of bonding to help these children and their caregivers.
The Happy Baby Congo team is working with frontline Ebola workers. Earlier in the year, we helped to gather more information about babies and toddlers who survived the virus but lost their mothers or fathers. After identifying these babies, the team provided their primary caregivers with 20 brand new Happy Baby carriers. These carriers are helping babies connect with their caregivers and keeping them safe during this vulnerable time.
Those first carriers were generously donated through an Ebola community engagement project under Bethesda Counseling Center at the Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC). Our Happy Baby Project Leader Noe Kasali knew that we could still serve more orphans in the Congo.
With the support of the generous donors to our campaign in May, we helped Noe raise the funds to provide 50 more carriers in the region. The bonding benefits of babywearing are widely accepted. We know that the gift of a Happy Baby Carrier can bring the love, care, and security that these infants and their caregivers need during this period of loss.
Between June and August, Noe served three rural villages: Oicha, Mangina, and Beni. Beni is where we are locally producing these Happy Baby carriers.
Testimonies of families caring for orphans in the Congo
“We have not before this received people who bring something that can last long like this carrier. Thank you for your support.” – a caretaker from Mangina
“Ebola has affected adults and babies. We still don’t know what to do with these orphans as we are grieving their parents. But we appreciate your gift of the carriers.” – caretakers from Beni
“Thank you so much for your support. As a father, I lost my wife. But having a carrier will allow me to carry and comfort my child.” -a father from Oicha village
The Happy Baby Congo team will continue to visit families as much as possible to see how orphans are doing and identify additional needs of these orphans. With the gift of these Happy Baby Carriers these new primary caregivers will be able to better provide these babies. The carriers will help with the physical and emotional support both babies and caretakers need during this time of crisis and grief.
We want to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who extended their financial support. Thank you for allowing the Happy Baby Congo team to bring the gift of bonding to help orphans in the Congo and give some smiles and hope to their caretakers.