A fresh start: hope returns for the vulnerable youth of Analanjirofo.
On the eastern coast of Madagascar
In the region of Analanjirofo on the eastern coast of Madagascar, a story of transformation is unfolding. Sixty-nine vulnerable young people, 28 girls and 41 boys, left school to work in plantations of clove, vanilla, and other cultures. In Madagascar, 29% of children between 5 and 17 years old are involved in economic activities (33% of boys and 26% of girls) and the region of Analanjirofo is not spared by this issue.
Nevertheless, thanks to a rigorous selection process conducted by qualified social workers of the region, these young people now have the opportunity to take part in a professional training programme at the Mahasoa Vocational Training Centre in the district of the same name. They will also benefit from medical and psycho-social support, and comprehensive sessions from the LifeSkills programme, which aim to provide teenagers with essential tools for daily life.
Gislène, an 18-year-old seamstress in training, operates her sewing machine with skill. Even though she abandoned school, her passion for sewing is coming to life thanks to the help of the Centre.
While his classmates take a break, Otriq, an 18-year-old carpenter in training, focuses on measuring the dimensions of the stool he is building.
14-year-old Njaka had to quit school last year because of his family’s financial difficulties. The Centre offered him a new opportunity as a farm worker in training. “My family owns land and thanks to this programme, I will be able to help my family financially.”
13-year-old Eliot, 19-year-old Romanic, 17-year-old Yoki, 17-year-old Zileo, 17-year-old Rodrick and 16-year-old Nantenaina are mechanics in training. The lesson of the day: discover and name the different parts of a car engine.
At the Centre, these young people have found a place where they can develop skills in various fields. They are working towards becoming qualified professionals in their respective areas of expertise.
The youngsters are learning to live together in a spirit of respect and sharing. They also develop a sense of responsibilities by participating in daily tasks such as cooking, fetching water at the well and cleaning.
Once they complete their training, these young people will be equipped with the necessary tools to start their own businesses. This newfound autonomy will enable them to break the cycle of vulnerability.
By helping them develop skills and offering them prospects for the future, the Mahasoa Vocational Training Centre and its partners have opened new avenues for these young people.
Commitment to support these vulnerable young people goes well beyond the borders of Madagascar. The National Swiss Committee of UNICEF, in collaboration with UNICEF, actively supports this initiative.
The National Swiss Committee of UNICEF also supports the training and revitalization of three networks of childhood protection in the region, as well as the committee against child labor.
Thanks to these combined efforts, a glimmer of hope has lit up the lives of these vulnerable young people. They have found a new path towards a better future, where they will be able to realize their dreams and positively contribute to their community.