Father Pedro: "It is through work that we will overcome poverty"

The association Akamasoa will soon be celebrating its 30th anniversary. Three decades devoted by Father Pedro and his Malagasy friends to giving hope. Three decades of building brick after brick "a world of fraternity, a more just world that shares and loves. "

QWhen Father Pedro visited the Tananarive landfill in 1989 he knew immediately he had to act. Take action to get the rag pickers out of this inhuman place and lead them to a life of dignity. For this, it sets 3 fundamentals: a roof, a job, an education. Pedro Opeka wants change to come from within: he wants to help, without assisting.

“We started our work alongside the poor; we were not in a position to offer them materially what they needed; […] We wanted to help without assisting. This is why if we have worked for the poor, it has always been done with them, by their side, helping them to build structures - schools, workplaces, clinics - within which they could themselves rebuild their lives, and prepare the future of their children. "

Akamasoa reception centers and villages

At the beginning of Akamasoa's story, Father Pedro went to the countryside, with some volunteer families. You first had to leave the city and its harmful influences: begging, crime, violence. We had to leave the landfill and its false promises of a better life.

22 Akamasoa villagesToday, Akamasoa is 22 villages across the island in which 3822 families live in harmony. Each house has sanitary facilities. Little by little, the electrical network is being established. The villagers become owners of their houses. They undertake to respect the your, convention drawn up by the villagers themselves: no drugs, no alcohol, no gambling, no prostitution. And even if it is sometimes difficult to always respect these values, the villages of Akamasoa are veritable havens of peace.

Reception centers provide temporary emergency assistance. It is not possible to welcome everyone in the Akamasoa villages, but in these reception centers, everyone can receive vital assistance: food aid, health care, hygiene products, clothes, blankets ... In 2017 , nearly 30 people were rescued in these centers.

“Every day we receive dozens of families, especially children, who come to ask for help. We find that the situation, in general, is very fragile and poverty is not decreasing, it is only increasing year by year. "

Work is also carried out to support the return of jobless families to their village of origin. Akamasoa provides them with financial support (travel expenses, installation, food) and support in kind (tools, blankets, clothes, kitchen utensils, etc.) until they can enjoy the fruits of their labor.

education

Education is one of Akamasoa's prioritiesEducation is one of Akamasoa's priorities. To be able to settle in one of the villages, it is mandatory to send your children to school. Almost 30 years ago under a tree, Father Pedro was teaching the children of the landfill. Today, in the Akamasoa villages, there are now 5 nurseries and nursery schools, 6 primary schools, 4 secondary schools, 2 high schools and 3 higher schools. Scholarships are awarded to those who study abroad. The quality of education provided in Akamasoa is recognized throughout the island. Last year, more than 70% of students obtained their baccalaureate. Students from Akamasoa Higher Education School teach across the island after graduation. By funding 2000 meals a day, donors of Made In Compassion support Father Pedro's approach. It is through education that a new future is possible in Madagascar. Providing these children with what is often the only meal of the day is to allow them to go to school instead of looking for something to survive in the landfill.

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The health

There are 7 Akamasoa health centers: dispensaries (at least one in each village), maternity, hospital, serology and tuberculosis laboratory, ultrasound room, dental office. Despite the permanent efforts of the teams in this area, Father Pedro deplores the health situation:

“But certain health and hygiene problems remain important despite our prevention efforts. Landfill remains, for example, a health problem in itself and still poses recurring problems. The trucks deposit the waste at the edge of our schools, whereas it should be piled up further. "

The places of work

Akamasoa villages are real eco-systems. Everything is designed to aim for self-sufficiency. The main idea remains to build structures in which everyone can rebuild their own life and prepare the future of their children.

  • It all started with the career. Next to the landfill there was a hill, "A dumping ground for misery". The government put homeless people on this hill in an unhealthy slum. But Father Pedro transformed this hill into a quarry: breaking stones to make gravel and cobblestones to build houses and pave the streets of villages.
  • A metal-welding-electricity workshop opened, to set up the electrical network.
  • A carpentry-cabinetmaking workshop, to make furniture for homes and schools.
  • Masons and carpenters build homes for newcomers.
  • Confection workshops produce objects intended for sale.
  • Recently, spirulina farms have been put in place. They will make it possible to fight against malnutrition thanks to the high nutritional value of spirulina, and to make profits thanks to the sale of these algae.

Reforestation and the creation of nurseries

Every year during the rainy season, schoolchildren plant thousands of trees, which will be maintained during the dry season. In Akamasoa villages, we learn to take care of the Earth for generations to come.

Akamasao Church

Every Sunday 10 people go to the gym to praise God together. Tourists also come there. Children's songs and dances are extraordinary times of celebration.

Father Pedro draws up a balance sheet filled with joy, but also tinged with sadness:

“It is a great joy to have been able to give, extend a hand to a child, a poor family in the street, in a landfill. […] But on the other hand, the sadness to see that there are still so many other people who remain in the landfill itself, in the street and who cannot be helped a few times, for lack of means. . "

In 3 decades, Pedro Opeka has set up a large chain of solidarity in Madagascar. In Akamasoa villages, children grow up in security, they receive an education and adults regain dignity through work. Father Pedro has never given up on this commitment made 30 years ago on the landfill in the capital: to act!

Made In Compassion is committed alongside Father Pedro

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