The boy with Ebola who called me mother


Samba, picture middle, was the only Ebola patient at the treatment centre

Oxfordshire nurse Barbara Nichols met Samba while working at the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kono, Sierra Leone. Samba was the only Ebola patient at the centre. In this blog, Barbara shares her story… 

Samba lost his father and a sister to Ebola. His mother died of a heart attack soon after their deaths – the grief was too much to bear, Samba told me.

I met Samba on my first day at the Ebola treatment centre (ETC) in mid-February. He was admitted with Ebola symptoms and was later confirmed to have the deadly disease.

Aged 23, he was the same age as my son, which is perhaps why I took such an interest in his welfare.


Extreme flood alert! Are we awash with refugees?

According to some papers, our country’s in danger. Waves of asylum seekers are swamping this island. They’re taking our space and trampling on our traditions – and we’re completely full up.

So do we need to shut the floodgates and take action?

Let’s swim against the tide for a moment and look at the facts. It’s time to get the story straight.

No asylum flood mythbuster More

Gallery: Life-saving aid hits the ground in Yemen

A plane on the tarmac


As fighting rages in Yemen, two Red Cross aeroplanes have arrived with vital aid – including urgently needed medical supplies.

See what happened when these planes touched down.

The Red Cross is one of only a few aid agencies working inside Yemen.

You can fund more vital help by donating to our Yemen Crisis Appeal. More

‘I was at Belsen’

BELSEN_BLOG_600x400As Holocaust survivors mark the 70th anniversary of the concentration camp’s liberation, we trace the story of a resolute volunteer who went out there  to help in 1945.

It’s fair to say Enid Fordham wasn’t scared of a challenge.

As a driver with the fire service during the dark days of the London Blitz, she saw enough danger and suffering to last most people a lifetime.


Evacuated from Sierra Leone and the boy I can’t forget


A Red Cross nurse in Sierra Leone – ©IFRC/TommyTrenchard

Dr. Sophie Reshamwalla’s time in Sierra Leone was cut short. The Red Cross doctor was evacuated from our treatment centre as a precautionary measure earlier this year. In this blog, Sophie talks about the journey home and the boy she cannot forget.

I can’t stop thinking about Musa. The last time I saw him, he was inside the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kono, doing a strange locomotion dance while singing a song about coconuts.

He has been on my mind ever since I was hastily evacuated from Sierra Leone.

Musa, aged 10, arrived at the treatment centre frightened and alone. When I first met him in the assessment area, he was trembling and burst into tears. Who could blame him?


Top spring tips for your garden

Garden alfresco blog

There’s still plenty of time to get your garden looking glorious this summer, even if you’ve not mown your lawn yet. We spoke to expert Tamsin Westhorpe about where to start first.

Gardener Tamsin Westhorpe knows her stuff. She started her career working in parks, more than 20 years ago. Today, she spends half the week as editor-at-large on The English Garden magazine. The rest of the time, she’s busy creating the kind of outdoor idyll that’s a mere dream for most of us.

But don’t be intimidated. Tamsin’s also championing our Open Gardens programme and wants everyone to be proud of their outside space. No matter how big or small, you can bring a little colour to your home – even if it’s just a few window boxes.

Follow these tips below, and your balcony or backyard will look picture-perfect in no time. More

Crisis in Yemen: Your questions answered

Where’s Yemen? Who lives there?

A map showing Yemen and the Middle East


Yemen is in the Middle East, directly below Saudi Arabia and about 500 miles from Dubai.

It’s twice the size of the UK and home to about 26 million people, more than double the population of Scotland and Wales combined. It’s one of the poorest countries in the Middle East.

What’s the crisis about?

Yemen has been affected by armed conflict for decades. This has made it harder for people there to earn money, go to school or even get everyday essentials such as food, water and healthcare.

But in the last few months the fighting, which involves a wide range of different armed groups, has become much worse in most of the country’s provinces. More

Have they got bogus news for you

Legally, there’s no such thing as a “bogus refugee” – which is why we asked a major paper to change a piece that used this term. And they did.

In fact, they went on to publish a full correction, which recognised that “Refugees by definition have already been granted asylum and cannot therefore be ‘bogus’.”

It’s just one of many misunderstandings we see about refugees and asylum seekers.

We’ve put a Red Cross spin on a recent article to get the story straight.