Urban poverty makes families vulnerable and susceptible to many risks

Children who cannot live with their parents find a new home in SOS Children's Villages (Photo: SOS archives) 

SOS Children’s Village Antananarivo is located in Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo, which has a population approaching two million in its metropolitan area, making it the biggest city on the island.

Poverty is high, as is child labour, especially here in the capital. Many young boys and girls come to Antananarivo from rural areas in search of work. Many girls end up working as domestic servants. Far from their families, they are extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation and often have no one to turn to for help.

The rise of child labour also means that more and more children and young people are deprived of an education, which seriously jeopardises their chances of escaping the vicious cycle of poverty. However, the immediate needs of the family are in many cases far more pressing than any long-term hopes and dreams for their children; when parents struggle to put food on the table, education becomes a secondary concern. A further source of harm are the hazardous work environments and their effect on children’s health. To make matters worse, many poor families lack access to medical care.

Living conditions in the capital are extremely tough for thousands of families: many live in slums, their houses are mere shacks, right next to open sewers, without running water or electricity. For children and young adults, the future often seems bleak.


The local community needs support

The SOS Children’s Villages Social Centre in Antananarivo provides support to the local community with the aim of empowering families to improve their situation in the long-term. We offer day-care for the children of working parents, and we also offer workshops in carpentry and dressmaking. We provide guidance on income generation to parents, thus ensuring that children do not have to work and can grow up in a stable and secure home environment.

What we do in Antananarivo

A peek inside family life:two young women in our care cooking together (Photo: SOS archives). 

SOS Children’s Villages began working in Antananarivo in 1997.

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, affectionately cared for by their SOS parent. They live in different neighbourhoods of the city, alongside local families, and attend nearby schools.  

Strengthening families: At the social centre in Antananarivo, we also provide psychological and practical support to families at risk of breaking down. We empower them to effectively protect and care for their children and so hope to prevent separation.

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.