Madagascar Dentention Centers

Mary’s Meals brings hope to children in detention centers in Madagascar.

Back to all stories | Posted on 10/25/21 in News

Mary’s Meals’ simple mission to feed hungry children, regardless of their circumstances, often means reaching out to those in the darkest corners of society, who might otherwise be forgotten. In Madagascar, we have been working with a local partner, Grandir Dignement, to provide nutritious meals to vulnerable children being held in five detention centers and one re-integration center in the Analamanga, Diana, Sava regions of Madagascar.

The conditions for these young people are bleak. They often come from the most disadvantaged and marginalized areas, where they have few alternatives to committing offenses to feed and clothe themselves. Most have never gone to school, and many have experienced unimaginable violence or exploitation on the streets. Madagascar has the fourth highest rate of malnutrition in the world.

Picked up by the authorities, often for petty crimes, they are now awaiting their fate in detention centers. Around 80% are being held without a trial – sharing beds in crowded, unsanitary dormitories, often without a mattress to rest on. These children are afraid, abandoned and in desperate need of regular food.

Since 2018, Mary’s Meals has been providing food to guarantee these children nutritious daily meals (rice and vegetables with meat or fish) in a place of education within the detention centers, helping to give them the strength to study and work. Our partner, Grandir Dignement, provides more holistic support through education and legal guidance, as well as mental and physical health services.

Mary’s Meals sources the food locally and relies on local people. One of those suppliers is Maman Cisco, who says she is relieved to be able to help these young people: “Often these children are there through no fault of their own, and that makes me very sad as I have children at the same age. I thank Mary’s Meals for the relationship we have with them. The aid we have brought to these children has been very rewarding.”

With the help of our partners, we are currently feeding more than 300 children in detention centers across Madagascar. Grandir Dignement is a French non-profit organization committed to supporting and improving conditions for young detainees.

They also promote alternatives to detention while respecting children’s rights. It is Mary’s Meals’ hope that with an education and regular food to eat, these children can be more optimistic about life after detention, knowing that they are not forgotten by the world.