Madagascar is a country riddled with debt, where the basic right of a child to an education is far down the list of government priorities and public expenditure on children is a paltry £31 per year, leaving very little for a basic, let alone decent, education.
The situation is especially grim for girls who are often denied any form of education so as to allow male siblings to benefit from the opportunity to learn. Boys, it seems, are best placed to go to school to learn. Girls, it seems, are better off at home.
Thankfully, Missio Scotland, the official mission aid agency of the Catholic Church, is doing what it can to help girls in Madagascar obtain some form of education. Missio has supported the Catholic Home for Girls in Ambanja, run by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, since 2004. The home accommodates around 40 poor and orphaned girls at any given time and is a place where the girls can be educated and allow their faith to flourish in a safe, loving environment.
Sister Suzanne Mahavita, who manages the home, says: “Our girls are from poor families where there’s no money for school fees. Even if there was money, boys get educated at the expense of their sisters. Girls usually stay at home, caring for younger siblings and do household chores until they are of an age when they can marry. In this sense female illiteracy far exceeds that of males. But our local families do support the ideal of education for girls. Our intention is to bring education to as many of the disadvantaged as we can. We strongly believe it is every child’s right to be literate and numerate.”
Click this link to learn more about this project: http://missio.scot/cause/help-bring-the-miracle-of-education-to-madagascar/