Imagine yourself as a 12-year-old student in primary school and having a hard time learning because your hunger pains are so great that it makes it hard for you to focus. According to Suzanne Beukes (2015), this what it is like for a young girl named Tiavina in the village of Lohanosy in Madagascar, Africa. One insight I have learned and that is that families like Tiavina are victims of poverty but they are not alone, “91% of the population on Madagascar lives on less than two US dollars a day” (Beukes, 2015, p.1). Tiavina’s mother, Sahone, grows rice for a living as well as making ropes from sisal fabric to pay for food, clothes, and school for her nine children.
The second and shocking insight I have learned is that primary schools are not free in Madagascar which means that Tiavina’s mother struggles to pay for food, school, and clothes. There are no subsidies, programs or vouchers from the government to help her. Tiavina’s mother admits that she never has enough food to feed all nine of her children, which is why sometimes Tiavina and her siblings feel hunger pangs in school (Beukes, 2015). The last insight I would like to share is according to Beakes (2015), Madagascar will not be able to meet the “Millennium Development Goal 2- universal primary education” because of the immense poverty in Madagascar; enrollment in school has dropped from “83 percent in 2005 to 69 percent in 2012” Beukes, 2015, p.1). Lack of food is a horrific norm for the children of Madagascar and close to “half of the children under five are stunted in growth-which means they are not getting enough nutritious food” for their cognitive development or physical development (Beukes, 2015, p.1).
Currently, UNICEF is trying to help the people of Madagascar by shining a light regarding their strife. According to Beukes (2015), it is a very difficult and slow process but they are trying tirelessly to raise awareness. Recently the veteran Goodwill Ambassador performed a concert in the capital of Antananarivo, to support education in Madagascar in hopes that families like Tiavina’s can gain relief from the financial pressure they are facing.
Beukes, S. (March, 2015) Life is too expensive for families living in extreme poverty in Madagascar. retrieved from UNICEF https://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/madagascar_80814.html