The Zara Mira program, an allowance to improve child well-being
Madagascar’s cyclones season during the first three months of the year causes devastation across the country, affecting its most vulnerable members of society. Ravalolo, 30 is a weaver and weaves mats for a living and her husband Fabrice, 35, is an agriculturalist. They have six children, four boys and two girls, ages 13, 9,7,5, 3 and 10 months old. In early February there were many cyclones and importantly the family became a victim of the storm.
During the storm, they were able to escape with other members of the community to classrooms in the school. Their home was destroyed, as well as some of their important government documents were destroyed regarding property. Fortunately, they were able to get them recertified by the ministry. The impact of the cyclone also effected their harvest. The rice and cassava were unable to yield fruit because they were destroyed due to the storm.
Life before becoming a part of the Zara Mira Program was difficult and the family was unable to pay for school fees or school supplies for all their children. Now with the allocation, they can send five of their children to school. They prioritize the allocation for school fees, school supplies, food, and clothing. Due to the financial alleviation, they are also able to send their second youngest to preschool which is not obligatory but due to his want to attend school, his parents registered him. The last allocation they received; they were able to celebrate Independence Day.
With the money left over, both Ravololo and Fabrice were able to invest in their business. Ravololo bought more basic material for weaving outdoor mats and Fabrice was able to buy seeds to harvest cassava.
Within her community, there is a community fund where members contribute what they can and if there is an emergency or a need to borrow the fund, families can borrow money and pay it back the next month. Ravalolo plans on contributing to the community fund with the next allowance. Additionally, they hope to take some of the allocation and after paying school fees, start rebuilding their home.
With Zara Mira benefits, Ravololo and Fabrice can send their children to school