Lending a Hand

Old bricks from the recently demolished "cow house" have a new life as a pillar in a compost pile.
Jan. 26, 2011 Text and Photos by Chad Lebo

You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. It may not be the most elegant saying, but it is very true. People helping people is what makes most of the world go 'round. And Akany's new mission as part of the European Union grant is to be a role model and teacher for other children's homes. We will be adopting three other homes as sister centers: Akany Avoko Faravohitra in Tana, the Mandrosoa Reeducation Center for Boys up the road in Alakamisy and the Center for Endangered Girls in Ambohimangakely.

The boys are proud of their work and we are proud of them.
We will all be working together to learn and grow into the best centers we can be for the care and education of Madagascar's children. The collaboration is just beginning, but many things are already happening especially with our neighbor the Mandrosoa Reeducation Center. It is a government run center that takes in boys from 7 to 18 years of age. The more than 60 boys that live at the home are placed there by the courts to save them from abuse or neglect or as an alternative to jail for petty crimes such as theft.

There is a French non-profit association, Grandier Dignement, already working at the center. Part of their work developing trade education for the older boys. They are learning masonry and other construction skills with the hope of finding employment after leaving the center. The program is just beginning and Akany is proud to be their first client. We have hired the boys to work on the current refurbishment of our main meeting hall. And while two boys are plastering and painting away in the hall, other boys have been using their masonry skills to recycle some old bricks into new dog-proof compost piles for Akany.

The boys are doing wonderful work and gaining useful experience that will assist them in finding work later in life. Their wages are going to support all the boys at the Mandrosoa Reeducation Center. There is always work to be done at Akany and now we can help someone else while they help us.

This boy is rolling away as he paints the main hall's ceiling.
After a week of plastering and sanding, the painting finally gets underway.

1 comment:

steph said...

I am so impressed. It looks like you are doing great work! I wish I had those skills.

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