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Overcoming her scars

Overcoming her scars

A deep scar rings around Rasoas' neck – leaving her a permanent reminder of the worst night of her life. The mark looks as if she was a victim of a violent attack. Her frail body is dressed in denim and a warm, violet-coloured jumper. She sits on the edge of her double bed in her one-room home as she recounts the tragic story behind her scar.

The double bed barely fits in the dimly-lit room. The only light is the sun that shines through large holes in the walls. But, Rasoas explains that this is paradise compared to what she and her three boys lived through last August.

Surviving a nightmare

It was a Sunday night when tragedy struck. Rasoas and her three young children were cuddled under the duvet on their only bed. The family drifted to sleep while they listened to their favourite radio programme. Rasoas was abruptly awaken by the sound of her mobile phone. It was her sister ringing to warn them that there was a violent fire outside.

“My sister lived up the hill from our home. She was able to see the fire which blazed across our neighbour’s yard and into mine,” Rasoas explains.

Within seconds of the phone call, Rasoas and her sons got up in an attempt to vacant the premises. However, when they opened the front door the fire had escalated and engulfed the entire property. Rasoas explains that she did not think that they could not make it out alive. Instead, the mother and two of her sons took refuge inside their wooden home. The eldest son, Antso, 11, instinctively ran into the flames to escape. Outside, two pigs and seven chickens – the family’s only source of income – perished in the fire. Rasoas and her sons lost everything that night.

Helping a family get back on their feet

Also sitting on the bed with Rasoas is Isa, the family’s SOS social worker. Rasoas and her family were a part of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme in Antsirabe, Madagascar, before the tragedy. Through the programme, Rasoas had learned how to manage her income so she had an emergency savings fund. Isa explains that the family strengthening programme focuses on providing struggling families with the proper resources to care for their children. Beneficiaries of the programme receive education and nutritious meals for their children.  

“I am so grateful that I was a part of the programme before that tragic night. Following the fire, the staff at SOS Children brought us to the SOS Medical Centre in the area to treat mine and my three sons’ burns. If it was not for the emergency fund I was able to save, I don’t know where we would be,” says Rasoas on the verge of tears.

Antsirabe is an underdeveloped city. The area which Rasoas lives has no water irrigation systems or electricity. The SOS Social Centre in the area supports almost 100 families, including 400 children. Rasoas was able to rebuild her home with the money she learned how to save from the SOS Family Strengthening Programme. This time, she built a brick home. Today, Rasoas is a chef at the SOS Social Centre where she provides nutritious meals to children from the nearby schools.

SOS Children has provided support to vulnerable children and communities in Madagascar since 1989. Learn how you can help change a child’s life in Madagascar today.