Life with a New Family
PHOTOS BY SARAH GRILE
In March of 2015, Sarah worked on a photo essay about Mercy Kennady as part of a follow up story for UNICEF. Mercy’s mother had passed away from Ebola and she had nowhere to go. She was taken to a UNICEF supported interim care center where she spent 21 days and was later welcomed into the house of a neighbor.
At the age of 9, Mercy was given a grant to attend school for the first time in her life. Her mother had never been able to afford to send her to school. It took Mercy time to catch on but her teachers have seen improvement as time has passed.
“She loves being around her friends. Everyone opens their arms to her. She never acts like anything bad happened to her in the past. She’s always smiling," said a teacher of Mercy.
According to UNICEF, over 16,000 children from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone lost a parent during Ebola. Many children like Mercy have since been cared for by neighbors, friends and family members. Patience, Mercy's foster sister, says, "she still has her child memories at the back of her. She still has friends around. The only thing is just a person who is missing."