3 organizations that remind us to extend charity to Madagascar

The people of Madagascar have coped with a severe drought for the past three years. Here are ways you can support a nation that is hungry, tired, and desperate.

Mother gives her children water to drink at their home in Madagascar. Kate Holt | Eyevine | Redux

Whether we’re shampooing our hair or making dinner for our families, it’s all too easy to take water for granted. But imagine if you didn’t have access to water for days or weeks on end and if large swaths of your country could barely grow food. That’s the plight of about 850,000 people in the African country of Madagascar. For the past three years, their region has seen a devastating drought. Last week, the United Nations declared the drought in southern Madagascar a “catastrophe.” According to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, many Malagasy suffered from poverty prior to the drought. Even before the crisis, Madagascar had one of the highest rates of child malnutrition in the world. The drought has only made their circumstances more dire. So what can we as Americans do to help?

A village boy in Madagascar. Rod_waddington | Flickr
A boy riding in a traditional cart in Madagascar. Rod_waddington | Flickr
The Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar. Rod_waddington | Flickr
Children gather for school in Madagascar. Hern42 | Flickr
Village girl in Madagascar. Rod_waddington | Flickr

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Here are three inspiring charities providing poverty relief (and hope!) to hungry people in Madagascar. While we understand that supporting a charity is always a personal choice, we hope you will consider giving your time or dollars to one of these organizations.

1. Caritas Madagascar

Caritas Madagascar is the Malagasy chapter of Caritas Internationalis, an organization you likely know best for poverty-fighting campaigns like Caritas One Human Family, Food for All and the Caritas Week of Action to End Hunger (which takes place in October, but has already passed this year). This chapter works through Malagasy parishes and other diocesan bodies to support people suffering from natural disasters. That includes drought, which is a slower killer than the cyclones and floods that also ravage the country from time to time. If you want to support a local Catholic charity that offers relief directly to the impoverished people of Madagascar, this is your best bet.

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2. WaterAid

According to WaterAid, an international non-profit, more than 11.7 million Malagasy don’t have sanitary water. So even the people who have access to water during the drought might not have access to water that won’t make them sick. As a result, more than 2,000 Malagasy children die from diarrhea every year. By supporting WaterAid, you can help Malagasy families get the water they need for their kitchens, bathrooms, gardens, and farms.

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3. Samaritan’s Purse

Though roughly half of Malagasy children suffer from chronic malnutrition, they, like kids everywhere, still dream of Christmas morning. Through its Operation Christmas Child initiative, Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian organization, gives these children something special to unwrap for Advent. Last year, Samaritan’s Purse collected more than 121,000 shoebox gifts from generous donors in the United States and delivered them to kids who might not have otherwise received Christmas presents. The charity reports that it has brought Christmas gifts to more than two million children since 1993. This year, the national Operation Christmas Child week will run from November 14-21, so start packing those shoeboxes!


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