Madagascar – From the slums of the past to new opportunity at Clairvaux

18 April 2017

(ANS - Antananarivo) - Although for many it is best known as a tourist destination, Madagascar is also one of the poorest countries in the world, where half the population is forced to survive on less than 100 Ariary (about 3 cents) per day, and three-quarters of the Malagasy live in slums. In such a situation, the opportunity that the Salesians offers young Malagasy in the Notre Dame de Clairvaux Centre is even more valuable.

In Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, many residents do not have electricity or running water. Entire families crowd the streets of the suburbs, connected by slopes of sand and clay, accessible only by jeep. The people live in improvised makeshift shelters.

The Salesian Centre of Clairvaux is about 15 km from Antananarivo.  It has a boarding school for over 100 young people aged 13 to 18 and accommodates many others as day-students in various training courses. One of these young people is Heritiana. He was abandoned as an infant by his father and forced to spend his childhood on the streets. Today he is attending a professional course to become a mason. He wants to build a house, something he has never had.

Haja is studying to become a carpenter. He is the eldest of seven brothers and sisters. Their mother is dead. He also comes from the misery of the slums, but in Clairvaux he has found a home and can count on the affection that he had been denied. Until last July there was also Charles who had run away from home to escape his father's violence. Now Charles has finished the mechanical soldering course and is working in a machine shop.

At the Clairvaux Centre, the Salesians provide for all the residents’ needs, from food (every day more than 1,000 free meals are prepared and served) to clothing, medical care, the organization of the training courses (from lower first cycle to professional in five different sectors) and extracurricular activities.

Heritiana, Charles, Haja and many others left behind the dramatic past of the streets, of family violence and the lack of a home. In Clairvaux they found friends, educators and teachers who took care of them and gave them a key to a future full of hope.

For more information visit the website: Missioni Don Bosco


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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