SOS Children's Village Mangarano is situated near the city of Toamasina - formerly Tamatave - on Madagascar's eastern coast. The population is 200,000 strong and Betsimisakara people are the ethnic majority, whilst ethnic Indians, who tend to be more wealthy, also form a large segment.
The coast is extremely fertile and many rural people earn a living from agriculture. The cities, like Toamasina, are popular tourist destinations, so many local people here earn a living from the tourist industry.
Damaged by storms
The climate in Toamasina province is tropical and extreme weather events are very common in the rainy season. Flooding is a regular problem and on a number of occasions cyclones have completely destroyed Toamasina city.
Cyclone Hubert in 2010 was particularly destructive, leaving around 85,000 people homeless and destroying the rice paddies that thousands rely upon for their livelihoods. This regular destruction makes it difficult to escape poverty, and impacts on the lives of children and families throughout the area.
The area's economy is primarily based on the nearby petroleum refinery, the biggest in the country, but in reality this does not directly employ many people. Rural people usually make a precarious living from agriculture and many in the city earn money by pulling rickshaw like taxi carts called pousse-pousse.
Food security is a major problem, exacerbated by the devaluation of the Malagasy Franc in 1994, and thousands of children die every year from malnutrition. In the cities many children work in the tourism industry to help provide for their families, which can expose them to a number of risks, including sexual exploitation.
How does SOS Children support children in Mangarano?
We began working in Mangarano in 1998 and have continuously expanded the assistance we offer children and families in the region.
Keeping families together
We believe that a stable and supportive family is the best place for children, and our community programmes help struggling families stay together. We offer a range of advice and counselling to help parents give their children the support and care they need.
We also provide a range of practical support. For parents, we offer training to develop income generating skills and work with local organisations to improve support systems. For children, we provide the basic education and health services they need, and offer tailored support to those who have left school early through our special “Asama” course.
Our SOS medical centre treats up to 1,000 people every month, and focuses on ensuring the health of pregnant women and babies. We also undertake a number of preventative medicine programmes, such as check-ups and vaccinations, to maintain the health of everyone in the community.
Care in the family
Children unable to live with their parents can find a loving home with one of the SOS families at our Children's Village Mangarano. These children are able to stay with their siblings and are given all the care they need from their SOS mother.
Children from SOS families attend the SOS nursery and, before going on to our SOS primary and secondary schools with around 400 other children from the Village and local community. When they are old enough, we support them through our SOS youth programme whilst they undertake further education or vocational training.
The support we offer families in Mangarano is diverse constantly evolving. From helping families in the community provide the best environment for their children to offering a home to those with no one, we are there for the neediest children in Mangarano. Please help. Sponsor a child today.