Our work in Madagascar
Located 240 miles southeast of the African continent, Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian Ocean.
The people speak Malagasy, and the majority of the inhabitants live in rural areas.
Although Madagascar is the world's largest producer of natural vanilla and cloves, much of the country lives in poverty and struggles with chronic malnutrition.
The Unbound sponsorship program provides sponsored members with healthy food, home repairs and construction, and birthday and Christmas celebrations. Health and dental care are also provided through sponsorship. The Antsirabe project focuses on teaching families the value of self-reliance.
Mothers groups build foundation for self-sufficiency
The Unbound programs in Madagascar support families of sponsored friends by facilitating and encouraging self-help mothers groups.
In these groups, mothers of sponsored children share knowledge and work toward becoming self-sufficient, instead of relying on a handout.
This initiative allows the mothers to gather together in small groups. Together they can voice their opinions on what benefits the sponsored members need most.
Floreat is the mother of a sponsored child, and she has been weaving baskets in Madagascar for 19 years. She was finally able to get her business off the ground with the support of Unbound.
Baskets are popular in Madagascar, and Floreat makes them in many different shapes and sizes. Her business has been doing well, and she saved enough money from it to purchase a bicycle for transporting materials and delivering her products.
Floreat has started to teach members of surrounding groups how to weave baskets. Another mother of a sponsored child in the program has studied Floreat’s basket making. She now uses the knowledge she gained to support herself and her family.
Assistance in child development
One of the first tasks of the mothers groups was to help create a new program to engage the children during school vacations.
During their school break, children are encouraged to enroll in different classes that pique their interest. Many sponsored friends have taken swimming, tutoring and other classes that help in their development.
With healthy activities such as these, sponsored members are more likely to develop a positive self-image.
Restoring sight through health care
Before sponsorship, many Malagasy families were unable to access medical care. Instead, they would take common antibiotics for any illness and hope they were effective.
Now, the Unbound program provides sponsored children, youths and aging members with access to doctors, proper medicines, dental care, eye care and more.
Unbound sponsorship helps aging friends continue to live with dignity. Razanabelo, 74, was blind when she entered the sponsorship program in 2009. A few months later, because of sponsorship, she received eye surgery and is able to see again.
"She was very happy and excited, and full of words telling us about her stay in the hospital. Unbound brought her back to sight," said Liva Rajaonarisina, the Antsirabe project coordinator.