As with many developing nations, poverty is a common way of life for its inhabitants. In many parts of the island country of Madagascar, 80% of the population lives in poverty. Many lack proper nutrition, clean drinking water and other basic needs. In rural villages near the country’s bustling capital of Antananarivo, more than half of the population don’t have the use of a toilet, and barely half of them have access to clean drinking water.1
But thanks to the support of our friends and partners, Hand of Hope is making a difference in some of the villages surrounding Antananarivo by partnering with Kelimahefa—an organization that hosts a feeding program in Madagascar. They provide a nutritious meal for children on a regular basis.
We visited the small rural village of Ambrohitrimanjaha and met young parents struggling to provide even one meal for their families. One such family is Rajonson LaLao and her three young children.
When her husband left, Rajonson struggled to provide for Aina (12 years old), Zo (9 years old) and Miora (5 years old). Rajonson is a seamstress but wasn’t able to earn enough to provide proper nutrition for herself and her children.
As you can imagine, not having much to eat was affecting the kids’ health severely. Aina struggled in school because she was so weak and had trouble concentrating. Zo couldn’t play with other kids because he too was so weak he’d fall down a lot. And the youngest, Miora, suffered from malnutrition to the point that her hair was losing its color.
Think about your own kids or ones you know. This is probably not the picture you get when you think of them!
To make matters worse, Rajonson wasn’t able to afford the $6 per month rent. And so they were evicted from their home.
They ended up moving in with Rajonson’s sister and her two children in a small house. They were fortunate to neither be stranded nor forced into homelessness. Still, it was very meager arrangements for them because all four were forced to share a room with the chickens and goats.
“It has been a big help because at home, the meals are small portions, but there are big portions at the feeding center!” Rajonson says.
They thank God when they eat because they understand the importance of that one meal they receive every day at the feeding center.
Life is much different today for Aina, Zo and Miora. Because of the feeding program, they are now living with the strength and energy children their age should have.
Miora is a happier little five-year-old with beautiful and healthy black hair who enjoys playing house. Zo told us he’s pretty strong enough now to play soccer. And Aina is feeling good about school now, is able to concentrate better, and enjoys playing with her little sister.
Thanks to your support of feeding programs like the one in Madagascar, not only were we able to help feed this family, we were also able to step in and provide this young family with enough rent money to live in their very own home for a full year. They now have the chance to look toward a hopeful future.
Hand of Hope is the missions arm of Joyce Meyer Ministries. Our goal is simply to help as many hurting people as we possibly can, to alleviate human suffering and to help Christians grow in their faith.
1. "What happens when aid is withdrawn from a state in political turmoil?", The Guardian News. Accessed September 5, 2012.
Prayer request submitted.