A Time for Celebration…
Each year, within the first few months of the year, the staff of the Sarobidy Maternity Center come together to celebrate God’s goodness over the past year and commit the year ahead to Him. We do so through recounting His faithfulness, through praises and prayer, through song, dance, games and of course, delicious Malagasy food. Because of the nature of our maternity center in which we’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the year, it’s rare to have ALL the staff– midwives, health educators, guards, ambulance drivers, facilities crew and administration together at the same time but when it does happen, it’s a sweet time of laughter and joy! Each year, as we increase our staff, our party gets larger both with employees as well as their spouses and children! This year, there were 24 employees and 104 people in total!
Through the years, our growing team of employees have become a family in which we share the common goal of caring for women and babies during a vulnerable time and ultimately, sharing the love of Christ with one another and those in our midst. We’re so thankful for the team in which the Lord has brought together! Please join us in praying for God’s continued leading in the hearts and lives of this group as well as for the ministry of the Sarobidy Maternity Center!
Exponential Impact of Employment…
In Madagascar, nearly 71% of the population live below the poverty line, unemployment rates are high and many with a college education still struggle to find work within their respected area of study. For many, such as the sustenance farmer, the taxi driver, the fruit vendor or the fisherman, daily life is a day-to-day battle to attain the most basic of needs: ample food, medical care and education for their children.
After eleven+ years of living and working in Madagascar, we have seen first hand the exponential impact of employment in lives, families and communities. We’ve seen this in the lives of the 7 artisans of Sarobidy Creations, the 24 employees of the Sarobidy Maternity Center and the 12,000+ employees of Eden Reforestation Projects.
The impact of employment for these men and women includes:
* Steady wages, health insurance, and retirement benefits.
* Increased access to resources such as medical care, dental care and legal services.
* Daily food security.
* Ability to send children to school, pay for school supplies and monthly school fees.
* Ability to improve quality of life through housing, electricity, running water, solar panels, beds and TV’s.
* Increased quality of rest and sleep because of the knowledge that they’ll be able to care and provide for their loved ones.
* Empowering people with a voice to stand up and say no to those who want to predate upon their vulnerability due to the state of their poverty (selling land, cutting down trees for charcoal, selling their children into prostitution, etc).
* Being seen and known by others and having their stories shared.
* Stimulating the surrounding economy on a community and local level.
* Offering the freedom to dream, to purchase land for their own home, to take vacations and to plan for the future.
* Lifting people from a place of constant need to a position in which they can help others in need.
* Increasing the quality, quantity and variety of food to benefit their overall health and well-being, future pregnancies, growth of their children, etc.
So what does this exponential impact of employment actually look like??
…. It looks like husbands and wives, mothers and fathers being able to not only provide for their families today but also have confidence that they will have retirement money each month as they grow older.
…. It looks like the hundreds of employees who can smile without shame because they’ve received dental care that otherwise, they may have gone without.
…. It looks like Fabrice, the wife of our longest standing employee, who is currently undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment because of her husband’s health benefits with the Sarobidy Maternity Center. Without this assistance, full treatment would be impossible.
…. It looks like Boto, one of the earliest Eden employees, who, before his employment didn’t have enough money or rice to make it through the rainy season and thereby weekly borrowed from others and increased his debt. With employment, not only was Boto able to pay off his debts and have plenty of food for his family, he was able to put his son, Japo, through school and most recently, through college!
…. It looks like Frederik, who can provide for his children to go to school, purchase the necessary backpacks and school supplies as well as install a solar panel so that his kids don’t need to do homework by candlelight!
.. It looks like Ravelo and Farida, who have a secure home with beds, a TV, and electricity for their family.
…. It looks like Maman’i Rasendra, who once told Jamie, “do you know why you Americans can sleep in in the morning… it’s because you know what you’re having for breakfast whereas we need to figure it out.” She has been an Eden Projects employee for the last 14 years and is able to sleep with peace of mind knowing that she’ll have food in the morning for her family.
…. It looks like one mother, who was able to say a firm NO when she was approached by a stranger with the offer of sending her daughter to another country for employment with presumable sex traffickers. (name and picture withheld for privacy).
…. It looks like Maman’i Kambana, who has been featured on multiple short videos for Eden Projects and has an incredible story of transformation! See her latest video here!
…. It looks like Nety, the first woman in the remote fishing village of Mahabana, who bought a large outrigger canoe and started her own transport business of ferrying people and cargo between Mahabana and the large city of Mahajanga.
…. It looks like Seraphine and her husband, Orcel, who after many years of living with family, have purchased a piece of land and have begun to build their own home.
…. It looks like Dome, who initially could barely feed his own family but with employment, he has purchased land and built a home. Dome and his wife are providing free housing for a single mom and her four children in their time of need.
…. It looks like Genotine, who before was only eating two meals a day, consisting of rice and the small fish they caught in their seasonal pond but now she and her family are able to eat three solid meals with a variety of protein, fruit and vegetable sources.
These are just a few of the stories of exponential impact as a result of employment with Sarobidy Creations, the Sarobidy Maternity Center and Eden Reforestation Projects. We praise God for the transformation in the lives of the staff– both in the physical sense but also in the ways that men, women and children are being drawn to Christ as they see the Lord’s provision in their daily lives! Please join us in praying that the Lord would continue to dwell richly in the hearts and minds of the Malagasy!
In our January newsletter, we shared the news that we’re taking a detour to work in Kenya at Rift Valley Academy for the third and final term of their school year. After weeks of prayer and conversations, we made this decision based on several factors, one of which was the persistently limited border reopening of Madagascar (i.e. flights only with France!). Just recently the borders of Madagascar have started a gradual reopening however there remains zero direct flights between mainland Africa and Madagascar. We are praying these resume soon but at this time, we’re so thankful for the Lord’s gentle leading of this detour back in the fall! With our departure for Kenya less than two weeks away, we covet your prayers for the many logistics that still need to come together, for the packing details of preparing for a new country and most importantly, that we would fix our eyes upon the Lord, allowing Him to continue to prepare our hearts and minds for the chapter ahead. We ask that you pray for Jamie and I– for guidance and grace as we take on new roles for a season of being dorm parents for ten seventh grade boys, for Isabella as she returns to her friends at RVA, and for Eliana and Gavin as they make new friends and begin their time at RVA!
Grace and peace be yours!
Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin
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