Chapter Three

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Ikmatu, sixteen now, still watches the world go by from her balcony. At street level, the road is bustling with people heading to work or back from the market. Women push through the crowds effortlessly carrying large baskets full of spices, eggs, fruit, or fabrics on their head. Young children run around with friends, turning all the activity into a game of hide and seek. A chalk board outside a shop indicates if a premiership football game is on, where men can huddle around the radio or television to cheer on their favourite team. Several times a day the call to prayer rings out from the nearby mosque where Ikmatu goes to worship.

Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free in November 2015 and it's a very different place to the one it was during the epidemic. Schools have re-opened and businesses are getting back on their feet. Communities are healing, though they still bear the scars of the devastation that they faced.

Ikmatu no longer has to educate people about how Ebola spreads, but she still wants to help them stay healthy, safe and disease free. The work that she started doing during the crisis has turned into a passion for her. She tells her community to sweep away pools of stagnant water to prevent mosquito breeding sites that cause malaria. She talks to them about the importance of washing hands, clean water and good sanitation.

Every week she gets together with a group of other young volunteers armed with brooms and buckets to wash down some of the main roads leading through the slum

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Every week she gets together with a group of other young volunteers armed with brooms and buckets to wash down some of the main roads leading through the slum. "It was important for me to do this because of my community ... to save my community, other children, the elders, my uncle, aunties and the younger ones," she said. "The community is not just mine, it belongs to everyone so I think everyone should come and work and be part of this so the younger children will have a future."

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Ikmatu was able to become a peer educator thanks to YMCA Sierra Leone. Comic Relief are proud to be supporting YMCA Sierra Leone and their UK partner YCARE.

To get involved this Red Nose Day and make your laugh matter head to rednoseday.com

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