In Madagascar, as in many countries, poverty, not the lack of a family, is a primary driver of children being placed in institutions.
Bianca’s story is a testament to this reality.
Bianca, a 40-year-old mother of five daughters, calls Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, her home. Her life took a tragic turn when her first husband, the father of her two eldest daughters, passed away when their second child was just one month old. Bianca had three more children, now aged 8, 5, and 3, with her second partner in the following years.
Her eldest moved out when she turned 21, leaving Bianca with her four younger children at home. However, the family’s unstable financial situation and the ill-treatment of her 12-year-old daughter by her stepfather led to the child’s placement in an institution in 2022.
This is where FAM, in partnership with MJF, stepped in. Recognising that empowering women economically is a crucial gatekeeping mechanism to prevent children from entering institutions, FAM supports mothers like Bianca. Our joint aim is to strengthen families and ensure that children do not remain in institutional care long-term.
FAM partnered with the institution where Bianca’s daughter was placed, supporting mothers in their entrepreneurial endeavours. The project’s primary goal was to enable these mothers to generate a better income, facilitating the reintegration and reunification of their families.
Through the coordinated efforts of the centre, the mothers, and FAM, Bianca was able to take charge and reunite with her child. FAM continues to provide psycho-social assistance to the family and the child, collaborating closely with the centre.
Today, thanks to these efforts, children are living with their families and enjoying their rights to education and play. Bianca’s journey underscores the critical role of economic empowerment in preventing children from growing up in institutions, including orphanages. By supporting mothers like Bianca, we can strengthen families, promote child reintegration, and ensure that children enjoy their right to a family. Her story is a powerful testament to the transformative impact of such interventions and a compelling call to action for us all.