Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Meet Alex and Akany Fitahiana

Being Dutch, Thanksgiving does not mean anything to me. But when my American friend Shannon McAfee said she'd organize a Thanksgiving lunch for 250 street children, I was happy for the opportunity to help.

There are many many street children in Tana, and it breaks my heart to see their dusty faces, snotty noses, poor-teethed smiles, and sad eyes. Most seem to have lost the innocent look of a child.

This is how I met Alex (26), a very special guy. A former street child himself - his pretty but poor mother was abandoned by his rich father in a not so pretty way, taking away all the possessions in their house and leaving the children on the streets. He got lucky, a stranger (?) met him and decided to pay for his education. Alex managed to finish his secondary school diploma and studied IT. He then found a job as an assistant manager, making a decent living and with his first earnings he opened, at the age of twenty, his centre d'acceuil Akany Fitahiana to help some of the the thousands of enfants de la rue.

Alex with Malala (16), 
her dad's a drug addict

Alex with Tanteroka (13)
 born on the street
Alex is now 26. His center provides education, life skills and occasional meals for 255 children between the age of two and sixteen - he started with 18 kids. He also finds hosts families in the neighborhood where the homeless children can stay for the night. 

Soleine's helping to serve a Thanksgiving meal - no, not turkey
Most kids were up since 6 AM...waiting hours for the feast to start

Pretty girls, but oh so serious..

These are hard times in Madagascar. Since the crisis started in 2009, the transitional government hasn't provided much support to the underprivileged. The center is on the brink of closing down. They're in need of pretty much everything: proper toilets, lights, school materials, toys, clothes, underwear, tooth brushes, food, soap; you name it. 

I am going to keep in touch with Alex, see what I can do to help.
You're welcome to help too!

The typical sad look of a child that has never known innocence

At least we managed to make this one smile...


  1. There is so much being told in those beautiful but sad eyes (boys and girls). It makes me want to drop everything I have here in Belize and race there to help....but wait, I have lots to help right here which is what I try to do daily. Keep on keepin-on. Kudos to Alex and you.

  2. Hi Suus! I think it's an amazing initiative and im glad you're trying to support this young guy. I will absolutely try to come up with some useful ideas. I do need some time for that, but i'll let you know asap!
    Say hi to everyone! And enjoy your day!

  3. Hello! I agree with Kiki: its great you're working so close to the people there. I believe Alex can make a difference, and presumably more so if he's supported in such a way... I will also try to get some ideas down!