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Her parents died of Ebola. Less than a year later, she's thriving.

Her world is slowly but surely coming back.

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Sallay's world was turned upside down when her parents died of Ebola in 2014.

She went to visit them at the treatment center, but it was too late. They had already passed away.

As the disease tore through her country, it disrupted life for hundreds of people, forcing schools and businesses to close and displacing an alarming number of children, including Sallay and her five siblings.


Now, eight months later, schools have finally reopened

And she's thriving.

GIF via UNICEF/YouTube.

In many ways, 2014 was a terrible year for West Africa.

Photo by UNICEF/YouTube.

The Ebola outbreak that most suspect began in December 2013 resulted in over 10,000 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, including Sallay's parents.

It was the worst outbreak of the disease of all time.

But — due to help coordinated locally and abroad – the worst is over.

Clip via UNICEF/YouTube.

Thanks to the efforts of UNICEF, USAID, International Medical Corps, local governments, and many others, communities like Sallay's are finally coming back from the brink.

One of the most effective programs was also one of the simplest and cheapest — making sure millions in affected areas had the resources to wash their hands with soap.

UNICEF delivered more than 1.5 million bars of soap to Sierra Leone and similar amounts to Liberia and Guinea. It goes a long way to preventing the spread of viral disease, even one as serious and deadly as Ebola.

Sallay wants to be a part of a healthy and sustainable future for her community.

She wants to be a nurse when she grows up, so she can take care of her friends when they get sick.


Image via UNICEF/YouTube.

Life isn't 100% back to normal yet. So much was lost that it might never be. And she'll undoubtedly have many more challenges to face along the way.

But a healthy future is real.

By providing education to displaced young people and improving local healthcare systems to prevent the next outbreak before it begins, they're beginning to make things better for those left behind, even though there's still a long way to go.

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