As part of our holistic approach, School-to-School International not only helps provide students and teachers with the educational tools to succeed, but also ensures schools and communities are safe and healthy. Too often students are not able to learn effectively because they are out of class with water-borne diseases or walking miles to fetch water. Our health and sanitation program helps to alleviate these problems. At every school where we intervene with this program, we construct one well and three latrines — one each for girls, boys, and teachers — as well implement an education program to promote healthy practices.
STS has been closely following the news of the spread of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, which has dominated the headlines in the past week. The news has affected us professionally and personally. Since our founding in 2002, STS has had the privilege and pleasure of strengthening communities in Guinea by creating the conditions for children to thrive in the classroom, and we cherish the relationships we have formed with community members over the years.
Cases of Ebola are confirmed and suspected in areas where STS works. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed cases in the capital of Conakry, where STS’s Guinea program office is located, and a coastal region northwest of the capital where STS collaborates with partner schools. The CDC is investigating suspected cases in other regions close to Conakry where STS works, while other regions where STS partner schools are located are as of yet unaffected. As of Monday, the CDC reported there are 495 suspected and confirmed Ebola cases in the country. STS will continue to monitor the situation closely on the ground and provide updates in the future.