We – Tanja, Gerd & Fanilo Hock – have lived in Madagascar since January 2006. Nine months ago we began working with homeless women and their children on the streets of Tana. The idea for the project arose during the process of adopting our Malagasy son, Fanilo. We discovered that in Antananarivo new born babies are often found abandoned in public waste bins. We are working with the homeless pregnant women – the poorest of the poor – in the hope of reducing the number of abandoned babies.
Originally we had planned to set up a centre where we could care for the women on site. A roof over their head, people to care for them, a chance to learn life skills that could help them to earn a living in the future. The political crisis at the beginning of 2009 changed our plans – so now we are going mobile!
For this means we purchased a mobile home in Germany that had previously been used by a German bank for promotonal actions. We received medical equipment in the form of a donation from a partner NGO in Germany.. The van arrived in Tana at the end of August 2009 and we are now busy refitting it as a mobile midwife clinic! Technical aspects are almost complete, now we will begin work on the installation of medical equipment. Together with a native midwife we will provide maternity care for homeless women. When necessary we will also be accompanied by a doctor. We will travel to those areas where the most homeless women look for shelter. Once the sun sets and the businesses close, many women sleep with their children in shop doorways.
Poverty and the number of homeless people has risen sharply due to the political crisis. Alongside the medical care throughout pregnancy and the provision of medications and vitamins, we will also provide the women with education about family plannig, hygiene and possible pathways out of poverty. Collaboration with local social workers and churches further strengthens our programme.