Vontovorona is located in a suburb of Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo, which is located in the center of the island. With a population of almost 1.3 million, it is also the biggest city in the country.
Although poverty tends to be particularly high in Madagascar’s rural areas, urban poverty remains a reality for many families in Antananarivo. The city is expanding, putting more and more strain on infrastructure and social services. Furthermore, as many parents struggle to make a living and feed their children, many children need to contribute to the family income instead of going to school.
Since 1989, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Vontovorona.
While the economic situation in the city of Antananarivo tends to be less dire than in Madagascar’s more rural parts, living conditions in the capital are still extremely tough for thousands of families. In fact, around three quarters of the people live in poverty. As the city is growing, basic infrastructure and service are under pressure. Many people live in slums and face extremely poor living conditions. Their houses are often mere shacks, without running water or electricity. Diseases spread quickly in densely populated slums, while access to medical care is limited.
Since so many people in Antananarivo live in poverty and struggle to make a living, children are often expected to contribute to family income. The rise of child labour means that more and more children and young people are deprived of an education, which seriously jeopardises their chances of escaping the vicious cycle of poverty.
Only 17% of primary school age children can read. However, the immediate needs of the family are in many cases far more pressing than any long-term prospects.