Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Invite to a Virtual Brainstorming

This blog is dedicated to generate ideas and tips on how to help Alex and his center for street children in Antanananarivo - otherwise known as Tana.

The center is called Akani Fitihani. It is located near one of the busiest routes in Tana, a street that is surrounded by many many street children. Nobody knows how many, but thousands and more children in the city have no proper home.

Street children come from 3 categories:
1 - Children whose parents have been living on the street (usually for generations)
2 - Orphans and abandoned children
3 - Children whose parents are extremely poor and children who have run away from awful circumstances (think: drug abuse, physical and sexual abuse by parents and relatives).

When the center started in 2000, Alex had 18 children to look after. Now, there are 250 children. The center providers education and life skills, playing time and occasional meals (depending on availabiltty of funds).

Madagascar currently does not have an internationally recognized government, and receives very little aid as a result. The center is on the brink of closing down.

This is an invitation to all to help generate ideas and tips on how we can help Alex and the center survive, so that he and his team can continue the essential work they're doing.

Click on More about the Cenrtre (right) to find an overview of the Center's needs. This may help you come up with ideas.

Ask your children to come up with suggestions, they may have original ideas too :-)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What the Centre Needs

Based on discussions with Alex, the centre's staff and two Malagasy social workers, we have come up with this overview that summarizes the needs of the center.

Children receive lunch at the school when the school has the rations available. For most children the meal at the centre is their only meal for the day. Lunch (rice, veg, sometimes meat) : 500 Ariary (20 euro cents) per child per day and 600 Ariary or 25 cents with morning milk included.
Per month we need 888 euro.

Teachers and teaching aids
A  total of 17 people are helping out in the centre: teachers, cooks and social workers. They receive a stipend equivalent of minimum wage (which is really really minimum, considering costs of living in Tana). At present, the average salary at the center is 30 Euro but the teachers are getting only 12 Euro per month.  Motivation of the teachers is low, they have little teaching aids (books, programmes) and some are considering leaving the center.
To earn enough to make a living and to be motivated, salaries need to be at least modestly increased.  Suggested per person per month: between 80,000 and 100,000 Ar or between 30 and 37 euro per person per month. Per month for all staff: around 600 euro.
Current school tables are falling apart

School supplies           
The center has received donations to make school furniture. We did that, it's great, but they need constant maintenance and repairs.
We also need books, pencils, crayon, pencil cases. Per child for one year: 10 euros

Sewing machines
The older children (from 12) learn how to sew and knit. They produce items that can be sold to cover some of the running costs of the centre. A manual sewing machine costs 25 Euro, Electrical sewing machine = 100 Euro

Scholastic and for fun reading,  in Malagasy, French and English new or second hand books all are welcome. School books as well as fun or reading books. The idea is to make some sort of library for the center. A book can be bought for around 3 euros. We are currently collecting second-hand books but a few new ones would be really welcome!

New or second hand computers much needed
Office equipment (computers, photocopier)
The center recently purchased an internet connection. The idea is to open an internet cafe to cover the costs of the connection, as well as to be able to manage a website for fund raising. (Alex is a computer guy) A secondhand computer will cost around 250 euro. A total of 5 to 6 computers would be needed, around 1500 euro

To copy school books. With over 150 school-aged children it is too expensive to buy books for each child. Price of a photocopier: around 300 euro. Paper and ink for one year 75 euro.

Toys and games
For Christmas (and the rest of the year too!); the children have very little to play with.  Because of the large number of children we’re not thinking of individual toys like dolls and cars, but games and toys that can be shared easily. They will be kept in the library.

We’re aiming for toys of a certain quality, not those made in China because they will not last long with this kind of target group J

Footballs = 5 euro each,  (Pump = 10 euro), Blocks = 10 euro per set,  Jump ropes = 2 euro each, Basketball = 5 euro, Net = 10 euro, Jeux de boules = 5 euro (per set), Game of Monopoly (local) = 8, Domino = 5 euro, Memory/Concentration game = 5 euro,  Table football = 75 euro, Swing set and slide 150 euro.

Friday, January 8, 2010

More Pictures of the Centre

David, volunteer from Belgian, taking portraits of each child

Even without toys or games kids can play!

Playing marbles

More play time

Entrance to the centre

Water facilities almost there...but not connected!

Trying to put some colour into the kids lives

Volunteers helping with Christmas presents distribution