Although Liberia is now declared Ebola-free, the effects of the 2014 epidemic continue to impact vulnerable people—particularly women who lost their husbands to the deadly virus. Many have been exiled from their communities, left to support themselves and their children with no means to earn a living.
When Ebola spared her life but claimed the life of her husband, Esther Tarr and her five children returned home to find that their belongings had been stolen. Then their landlord told them they had to leave. Nearly hopeless, Esther happened to talk to a doctor at a medical clinic for Ebola survivors. Upon hearing her story, the doctor referred her to the Samaritan’s Purse widows’ program, the Ruth Project. It’s here that Esther has begun the process of restoration.
“For me, Ebola has reduced my life to a point where I’m just beginning to be hopeful,” Esther said. “My life was not that wonderful, but compared to what my life is now, when I see myself now, I say, ‘Is it possible for anything better to come out of me again?’ I’m now beginning to have hope. I’m now beginning to have some light.”
Through the Ruth Project, Ebola widows receive Christian counseling as well as food for their families. For the first six months of the program, fifteen women are counseled in a group setting at a local church; for the second six months, they receive livelihood training so they will have a sustainable means to provide for their children.
With the hope of the Gospel at its core, the Ruth Project is encouraging vulnerable widows that were once at a point of despair.
“God has brought Samaritan’s Purse,” Esther said. “So even when I go back home and have a feeling to cry and I think about what’s happening, I wipe my tears and become hopeful again.”