GIVING GIRLS A BRIGHTER FUTURE!
Akany Avoko Faravohitra (AAF) offers home, healing and hope to destitute girls in Antananarivo. Founded in 1963 by the Federation of Protestant Churches of Madagascar (FFPM) and the Ministry of Justice, the centre offers vulnerable girls, and those awaiting trial for petty crimes, the opportunity to build themselves a better future.
The prospects are bleak for the many girls trying to survive on the streets of the capital, Antananarivo. Without an education, skills, tools or start-up funds there are few options apart from crime or prostitution. The penal system for petty theft in Madagascar is harsh; children are assumed guilty until proven innocent, which means they can spend months in jail whilst they await trial. The AAF centre provides a safe haven for 55 vulnerable girls (5-18), offering them support, education and a nurturing home environment until they are able to return to their own families or embark on independent living.
AAF’s dynamic director, Hanta RANDRIANARIMALALA, is an experienced social worker, who was herself orphaned at a young age and brought up in AAF’s sister centre Akany Avoko Ambodatrimo. It was this early life experience combined with her faith that inspired her to strive to give others the care, support and opportunities that she herself received.
Each girl referred to AAF is given a safe home environment where she can access a decent education and thrive emotionally. Each girl living at the centre has access to the following:
All girls are given a health check upon arrival and their medical needs are catered for. Medicine and medical checks are very expensive by Malagasy standards; a course of antibiotics costs the equivalent of two weeks wages and the medical needs of new children are hard to predict. Last year (2017) 5 girls had to be hospitalised.
All girls are given the educational opportunities to enable them fulfil their potential:
Literacy classes are provided for those who have never been to school or had to give it up at a young age;
Access is provided to primary or secondary school or vocational training;
Arts, crafts, music, traditional dance and sports are offered to enhance their learning experience.
A comfortable and caring home environment:
Round the clock specialised staff to offer help and support;
Regular nutritious meals;
Clean comfortable beds and bedrooms;
Clean and hygienic washing facilities.
Long term support:
Regular home assessments are carried out after the girls leave the centre to ensure their situation has improved, or that they are financially independent and can look after themselves. Where problems arise, the staff from the centre work with the girls to resolve them.
The Cost of Changing a Life:
Despite being co-founded by the Ministry of Justice, the AAF centre receives no government funding and relies entirely on charitable donations to carry out its life changing work. The annual cost of providing a vulnerable girl with nutrition, education and healthcare in a safe nurturing environment is high by Malagasy standards but by UK standards it is extremely low:
Education/training for one girl costs £15 per month,
Medical costs amount to £7 per month per girl.