Couple wants to help African orphans enduring Ebola crisis

Health care workers in West Africa dealing with the Ebola virus.

HARWINTON, Conn. (WTNH) – Nearly 900 people have died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

What’s happening in Liberia is a big concern for a Harwinton couple planning on building an orphanage and school there. The largest outbreak of Ebola strikes a personal chord with Jan and Paul Prenoveau. Hope For Fallen Leaves, the non-profit which Jan Prenoveau founded, support  an orphanage in Liberia. They received a call for more help from the woman who runs it.

Paul Prenoveau said, “She went to the orphanage to see what that was like because one of the caregivers had contracted Ebola and had passed away.”

“They had put her in isolation and most of the time,” said Jan Prenoveau. “Quita, Quita is the one we’re helping, she says when you’re put in isolation there’s usually no hope. They put you there and this woman did pass away the next day.”

Fifty-two orphans and their caregivers were moved to an abandoned building, for fear of being contaminated. “But we haven’t had any indication that any of the children have contracted the disease at this point, ” said Paul Prenoveau.

Added his wife, “Now they are taking extra precautions to make sure they wash their hands. They’re trying to make sure everything is as clean as they possibly can, given their circumstances.”

What first drew the couple to West Africa was the plight of neighboring country, Ghana. They adopted daughter their Jeremina from there three years ago. Right now the focus is the children, caught in the middle of the Ebola crisis.

Paul Prenoveau stressed, “That’s critical right now, is to keep them alive.” Financial donations pay for the basics, which are medical needs, food and housing. As little as 17 cents, they say, provides three meals a day.

“And that’s all they are doing, they’re surviving right now, said Paul Prenoveau. “We want to better that.” A lifeline extended by others they say, could ensure these faces will overcome that uncertainty.

Jan Prenoveau said, “Wherever the need opens up, you are suppose to help those people whether they are here or whether they are across the world, it doesn’t matter, we are all humanity, we are all hooked together, we are all children of God.”

The plans are to build an orphanage and a school in three years. Next week, the Prenoveaus are going to Washington, D.C. to meet with the Liberian ambassador, in hopes of getting help for the children right now.

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