In Memory of a Liberian Literacy Leader

We are all aware that a lot of people are dying in the Ebola outbreak, especially health workers. We need to keep in mind, however, that every victim is important to someone and may even be making a vital contribution to their society. That is the case with Jacob Sandolo, a principle and fierce advocate for literacy in his country. His recent death will have a great impact on Liberian society going forward.

For months, nejacob-sendolo-rtows services around the world have issued reports on the Ebola epidemic that has savaged West Africa. Since March, there have been over 17,000 reported cases of Ebola and more than 6,000 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Liberia, the worse-hit country of the Ebola outbreak, with more than 3,000 deaths, has fought this deadly virus with a severely strained public health infrastructure weakened by 23 years of a brutal dictatorship and civil war. Schools have been closed, food is in short supply, and many people are unemployed due to the crisis. News reports have typically spoken of the toll Ebola has taken on healthcare workers—doctors and nurses who have died valiantly in the line of duty, but they have not been the only victims of this deadly virus. In the last week of November, Jacob Sendolo, principal, teacher and long-term officer in the Liberian affiliate of the IRA, also died from Ebola. His death will be felt deeply.

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