Monday, January 20, 2014

Thank You Generous People in Tana!

Last weekend's first episode of Les Courses du Coeur (Groceries from the Heart) was a huge success!

Most clients who did their shopping at Jumbo or Leader Price have given something to help street and other vulnerable children in Tana. The four beneficiaries are:
  1. Akani Fitahiana's children ( in Akorondrano
  2. Les Graines de Bitume ( 
  3. Grandir Dignement  (www.grandirdignement)- helping children in prisons
  4. Centre Sainte Marie - orphanage in Mamasina
We received hundreds of kilos of rice, boxes full of cooking oil, immense piles of biscuits, milk, sardines, dried beans, pasta, noodles, soap bars, dish liquid etc etc...

Old and young, Malagasy or foreign, rich or poor, everyone gave something!

Thank you also to the sponsors: Telma Foundation, Croustipain, Infinithe

Philippe and me in front of Jumbo Supermarket

Jeremie  is contributing too

Young and old are giving

Two boys making a generous rice donation

Sara Georget of the Green Party is happy with the initiative
that avoids plastic bags too!
This is just a small part of the collections, in 6 supermarkets at the same time

Boxes full of food

Vivianne of Telma Foundation worked tirelessly

Monday, January 13, 2014

Les Courses du Coeur, or Groceries from the Heart!

This weekend a whole bunch of us volunteers are going to collect donations from clients of Jumbo Score and Leader Price, two prime supermarkets in Tana.

Shoppers can make a donation for three different project that work with street and other vulnerable children.
Items asked for include:
- rice, sugar, oil, dry beans, salt, biscuits, soap.

For those in Tana, give generously!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Merry X-mas and Happy New Year children!

Thanks to a great donation by the Soroptimistes - a women's group in Tana, 300 children had a great christmas party. All girls got a barbie kit, and the boys a truck. A goodie bag with JB chips and biscuits followed by a festive meal - sponsored by Telma Foundation, made the party complete!

Thanks all  staff, volunteers and sponsors!

Click for more photos courtesy of Heidi Yanulis

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chickens, Pigs and ....

With his job savings from 2012, Alex, bought a modest piece of land in Tana. He wanted to have a space where he could do 'income generating projects' that would benefit the center. I personally financed the construction of the guard cabana to protect the premises.

Apart from that, there was nothing.....But...

today, with the help of several young volunteers from France, the little spot has turned into a small farm, with chickens and pigs.  Viviane and I visited, and donated seeds and gardening tools to keep things up.

We'll report back in a month to see the fruit of our donation!

Chicken coop, 40 chickens. With heating and light!

Mr le jardinier

16 pigs / piglets

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bon-JOUR Madame A-meeee

Amy Walter is an education consultant based in Antananarivo. She has been helping the pre-school section of Akany Fitahiana for the past few weeks. Read about her experiences...

In the preschool classroom at Akany Fitahiana, the excitement of 29 two-to-five-year-olds is contagious. From the moment I walk into the classroom each week and am greeted by a resounding chorus of “Bon-JOUR, Madame A-MEEE!” continuing through the two hours that follow, the children read, draw, sing, create, play, and participate with enthusiasm. 

Thanks to an introduction from Susanne, I met with Alex and Lalaina, the preschool teacher at Akany Fitahiana, last November. As an early childhood educator, I asked what they needed and expressed my interest in getting involved. They identified the dire need for basic materials – books, educational toys, and art supplies– and support for incorporating them into the classroom. Since Lalaina teaches the foundational maternelle subjects of literacy and numeracy, the idea of our work together is to build on her instruction by providing materials and implementing activities that extend the children’s learning and play. This is the first in a series of blog posts and photos on our collaboration.

Block turning into cameras
Block play enables the children to develop their math sense and creativity. From the first day I brought them in, the children began building and naming their creations: “Madame Amy! Trano!” “Charrette!” “Camion!” (House! Cart! Truck!). With my limited Malagasy, a lot of gesturing, and help from Lalaina, we improvise and pretend that the blocks are cameras, windows, and other objects. The children see how high they can stack the blocks and experiment with balancing them in different positions. We also use them to talk about quantities (counting and comparing), colors, and shapes.A group of children work together to see how long a chain they can make.
Through books, the children connect their letter reading and writing skills to the written page, build their vocabulary, and expand their imagination. Each time we read aloud (translating from English or French to Malagasy), the children sit rapt and respond eagerly to our questions. On my most recent visit, I brought enough books for the children to look at on their own or in pairs. They looked intensively and turned the pages, shared what they observed, and exchanged books with one another.

Right now, we use borrowed books and toys, games that I make out of recycled materials, and basic supplies. I will be creating more games (ex. puzzles, bingo, sorting cards). 

Help wanted
If you are interested in supporting this work, we would welcome donations, monetary and in-kind, for the items listed below. We seek materials that are open-ended (i.e., have many uses), child-safe (non-toxic and not too small), and easy to transport, clean, and store. If you have any ideas on activities to try or materials to incorporate, we would love to hear from you!

*  Blocks of different shapes and colors, no more than 20 cm long each
*  Large Legos (ex.Duplos or Mega Blocks)
*  Plain or colored paper for drawing
*  Thick colored crayons
*  Old picture calendars to make into puzzles
*  Board books with large pages, vivid drawings or photos, and simple language, preferably in Malagasy or French

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Amy L. Walter is an independent education consultant based in Antananarivo.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Message from Alex:

Bonjour à tous,

On behalf of all the children and staff of the Center Akanifitahiana we thank you for all you have done for us. We extend our best wishes for the new year, and we hope it will be full of joy, peace and happiness. Thank you for your cooperation in 2012 and we count on your support for 2013!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's almost Christmas time!

The center will organize some christmas or holiday celebrations on December 21 at the center in Akorondrano

On December 22 we will visit some of the homes of the children, talk to parents, and offer some small gifts and candies.

Anyone is welcome, donations too, of course!

Happy faces the center for street children. Images from 2011 and 2012