Members of the ND Unite to Fight Ebola team were notified over the weekend that the shipping container they raised funds for last fall arrived at long last in Liberia. Yassah Lavaleh, a nurse working in Monrovia, spent six weeks at Notre Dame during the summer of 2014 as a Mandela Washington Fellow with the Young African Leaders Initiative, a U.S. Department of State program, where she joined 24 other Fellows from 17 different countries for a business and entrepreneurship intensive.
After Yassah returned home to her Ebola-ravaged country at the end of July, she kept in touch with her Notre Dame family. The emails and daily Facebook updates from her were heartbreaking. At the height of the crisis, members of the Eck Institute for Global Health, who had connected with Yassah while she was here, led a university wide fundraising effort with Notre Dame’s Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) and the Kellogg Institute’s Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity: ND Unite to Fight Ebola.
Yassah provided a list of medical supplies and protective gear needed to support the efforts at her Ma V. Maternity Clinic. Notre Dame partnered with Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach to make her list a reality. Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach collected donations of medical supplies to fight Ebola and provide primary care to the patients. Students, faculty, and staff from Notre Dame, members of the South Bend community, and ND alumni clubs raised over $26,000 for transport of the supplies. Representatives from Notre Dame and Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach prepared the shipment and attended the ceremonial send-off on November 20, 2014. After several months, the container of supplies finally arrived in Monrovia on February 7, 2015.
“It may seem like we are a world apart, but we couldn’t have been closer as a result of the warmth and love that comes with this assistance,” Yassah said in an email. “To my family at Notre Dame and everyone that worked to make this a reality, especially the Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach folks, you refuse to feel sorry for us; instead, you are standing with us shoulder to shoulder as we take on a common enemy in the Ebola virus. For this, our community and country will forever be grateful for your belief in the dignity of humanity.“
Contact: Joya Helmuth NDIGD Outreach Associate at Jhelmuth@nd.edu or Sarah Craig, EIGH Communications Specialist at Craig.firstname.lastname@example.org