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Stories from the Field

Daily Meals Provide Hope for Aina and His Family in Madagascar

By Amanda Whitmyer on December 28, 2022

Around the world, many regions have faced significant impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, including Ikianja, a small village in Madagascar. Many community members lost their jobs as a result of government-mandated lockdowns. Among those affected were the parents of six-year-old Aina. Although his mother was able to secure a job providing a small daily income, his father has remained unemployed due to the local economy. In this region, most of the community members earn their living daily as fishermen, dock workers and washerwomen, among other activities, and only 10% of people have regular monthly employment.  

To ensure Aina would receive nutritious daily meals, his parents enrolled him in the Ankadindambo Public Primary School. In partnership with Rise Against Hunger, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) distributes rice, beans, oil, salt and tomatoes to the cantina so students can enjoy locally procured foods prepared in a culturally appropriate way.  

Onja, an internal auditor for the school cantina, explains how parents in the community feel reassured that their children are receiving regular meals at the school and credits the increased attendance and graduation rates to the daily meals. The school’s headmaster, Lalasoa, agrees that the cantina has had a significant impact on the students and has been working with parents to promote the importance of the school’s garden to increase nutrient diversity in their households.

Despite working with limited finances and resources, the state is working to implement this program in every public primary school to increase the success of the cantina program across the region. ADRA is also working diligently to implement more school-based gardens in multiple schools throughout the region.

While Aina is in the first grade, he loves going to school, where he enjoys delicious meals and always has a great time with his friends.

Join the movement to end hunger by hosting a meal packaging event with Rise Against Hunger. As meals are distributed around the globe to help people facing food insecurity, your support will nourish many lives, just like Aina.