A Maltese NGO providing crucial work for the people of Madagascar is looking for all the help they can get amid growing financial struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Arnaud Guesry Foundation‘s co-founder Christina Lejman highlighted the important work of the Maltese-registered NGO, which focuses its efforts on a residential crisis centre for children in Madagascar, on an episode of Lovin Daily.
The organisation houses around thirty children who have been severely abused abandoned or neglected whilst specialising in malnutrition refeeding. Madagascar doesn’t have proper public health services, so organisations like these are crucial for vulnerable children.
“Madagascar has a huge problem with malnutrition. Its actually the fourth highest rate in the world – over half of Madagascan children suffer from malnutrition.” She explained, highlighting the importance of the need for such organisations in the country due to the government of Madagascar being unable to provide such specialist aid.
The organisation also acts as a vital part of their community, offering a range of services including special care for children of women in prison and a summer school for children unable to attend school during the farm harvests to allow them to still graduate to the next scholastic year.
Lejman went on to state that The Arnaud Guesry Foundation, alongside many other NGOs around the world, faced primarily three problems in light of COVID-19. Namely, Lejman highlighted that funding decreased significantly when the pandemic hit as a result of uncertainty of finances for many doners.
Many of the big grants that the Madagascar government grants for NGOs were suspended for 2020 and it is unknown as to whether they will be re-instated for 2021. Additionally, additional expenses required to ensure that the facility remains COVID-19 safe (especially when most of the children are considered to be at risk) have also added to issue of finances.
“The money went down, but at the same time the demand for our services went through the roof because communities were more vulnerable – children were more vulnerable.”
Currently, a campaign appealing for donations to help stabilise the financial situation of the foundation is underway.
Should it fail to raise enough funds, the Arnaud Guesry Foundation will be forced to close. Elaborating on the effects such a closure, Lejman stressed that it is the foundation’s goal to “rehabilitate families and send children home in the long-term”, after having already done that with over fifty children.
“If we were to close, there are no other residential facilities in our area and those children would be sent over 1500 kilometres away to centres in the capital.” She continued, going on to state that a closure of the facility “would make family rehabilitation and re-unification almost impossible because the kids get lost in the system and transport in Madagascar is very difficult.”
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