Women’s Forum 2013, news from Maria Raharinarivonirina

On 16 October 2013, Maria Raharinarivonirina, President of SOS Villages d’Enfants Madagascar (SOS Children’s Villages of Madagascar), was awarded the Women for Change prize following the Orange Foundation’s online vote. This provided 25,000 Euros to set up her “6 women’s centres” project. On Wednesday 5 February an agreement was signed in the presence of the Orange Foundation, represented by Michel BARRE, Director of Orange Madagascar, and Josie Randriambeloma, President of Orange Solidarity Madagascar, as well as Maria Raharinarivonirina herself, marking the start of operations.

 

Josie Randriambeloma Maria Raharinarivonirina Michel BarreJosie Randriambeloma Maria Raharinarivonirina Michel Barre

 

The project was launched in Ambovombe on March 25, in the presence of representatives of the 6 Women’s Centres, Maria Raharinarivonirina and Josie Randriambeloma. The inauguration of the completed buildings and handover of equipment (computers, mobile phones, etc.) for the project were part of this launch.

acces a l'informatique

Access to education and training

In due course the quality of life of the 810 women benefiting from the project will be improved. The multi-disciplinary activities run at the centres give access to a foundation education; to literacy, home economics training and information access. Lessons in reading, writing and numeracy began in August 2014. The literacy classes are run by the teaching staff. Around ten women at each centre are acquiring basic IT skills.

The beneficiaries attain socio-economic independence with the setup of family production units and joint production workshops. In Ampanihy, for example, a mohair rug weaving workshop has been operational since October.

In Ambovombe, a production and sales programme is running for straw mats, hats and domestic ornaments. The work is divided up according to each member’s specialities, with plaiting performed jointly. Their aim is to establish joint financial capital, with a view initially to increasing their production capacity and making the group operationally autonomous.

Production et vente de nattes à Ambovombe

At the same time, the entire community is made aware of women’s rights. Local authorities, in partnership with NGOs working to promote women, speak up to promote protection of children and women’s fundamental rights.

In this way Maria Raharinarivonirina’s “Women’s Centre” project is contributing to the autonomy and social integration of these women, who previously were excluded. They are now participating in the development of the community as a whole.

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