Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. Thousands of families face food shortages and are unable to cover the most basic needs as their income continues to decline. Madagascan children represent the most vulnerable segment of the population – they are in urgent need of support and protection.
Life is a daily struggle for families in southern Madagascar
Children in our care grow up with their brothers and sisters in a loving SOS home (SOS archive).
SOS Children’s Village Fort Dauphin is located in the city of Tolanaro (also known as Taolagnaro) in the south east of the country, in the region of Anosy. The region is somewhat isolated as the infrastructure is poor, and many areas are hard to reach.
In comparison to other areas of the country, the southern part of Madagascar is particularly deprived. According to some studies, over 90 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Children growing up in big households in rural areas are most likely to be malnourished and lack access to education and healthcare.
Families in Anosy live mostly off the food that they grow. They farm crops such as manioc, rice or cassava. Unfortunately, this is often not enough to feed the family. To make matters worse, the area is often struck by different natural disasters – droughts, floods and locust plagues - that will seriously damage, if not completely destroy, the crops. In recent times, these natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe.
In order to deal with these economic and environmental shocks, families have to find ways of generating an income. This often has a negative impact on children, who may have to leave school and are forced to work. Some children work in mining, fishing, and agriculture or as domestic servants. In areas that attract tourism, some children are sexually exploited for commercial purposes. There is also the risk that children are then trafficked away from Madagascar.
An increasing number of children don´t go to school
In the Anosy region, over 60 per cent of children do not go to primary school, and worryingly this figure has worsened in recent years. Apart from having to work, there are a number of other reasons why children do not go to school. Especially in rural areas, it is hard for children to get to school due to the lack of infrastructure, and many parents cannot afford the additional costs of travel or school supplies.
What we do in Fort Dauphin
Thanks to your support to SOS Children’s Villages, children can smile, play and have fun together (photo: SOS archives).
SOS Children’s Villages began working in Fort Dauphin in 2014.
Care for children who cannot live with their families: For children from the region who are no longer able to live with their parents, SOS families can provide a loving home. In each family, the children live with their brothers and sisters, and are cared for by their SOS parent.
Strengthening families: In various communities in southern Madagascar, we provide social, psychological and practical support to families so that they can stay together. We also empower parents to learn about their rights so that they can effectively protect and care for their children. This is especially true regarding commercial sexual exploitation – we raise awareness so that vulnerable children are not forced into this exploitation, and help families find alternative ways of making a living.
Support for young people: SOS Children’s Villages continues to support young people as they grow older. We make sure they have access to education and training, and provide them with accommodation as they make the transition into adulthood. The young people live together, supervised by an SOS educator who provides guidance and assistance.
Medical care: We provide medical assistance and information on health issues. We offer medical check-ups to pregnant mothers and babies, give advice on family planning, organise vaccination programmes and deliver treatment and support regarding nutrition. Most of our patients come from local families, who could otherwise not afford to receive treatment.
Education: In Fort Dauphin, around 180 children can go to the kindergarten that is run by SOS Children’s Villages. In kindergarten, they can play and learn, and get ready to go to primary school. Young adults can attend special training courses on marine biology and fish and shellfish farming.