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What we do

LA MAISON D’ARNAUD

In 2013 the foundation launched its first project, La Maison d’Arnaud. With our residential home built in Antanamitarana, La Maison d’Arnaud provides long-term housing, health services, specialist mental health care, education and a loving home for up to 50 children.
We work with the local welfare offices and justice system that identify children at risk. Once identified, they move them to a safe environment, La Maison d’Arnaud is a safe Home that provides permanent care for as long as is deemed necessary these children in need. Our project is designed to reduce the pressures on the finance and infrastructure of the local social services as well as to facilitate the introduction of healthy, educated and productive adults back into society.

Without a program like ours many of our children would have ended up living a life of abuse or exploitation many end up on the streets. But here at La Maison d’Arnaud, our children have been given a new chance at life in a healthy, happy and caring atmosphere, we are not just another ‘orphanage’ in Madagascar, we are a Home providing a safe environment where all precautions are enforced rigorously to protect the moral and physical integrity of our children. The children live together like brothers and sisters as we aim to be a source of love and care in order to foster their harmonious physical, neurological and psychological development.

Our babies and children are either coming from prison where the nutrition is poor, or from very poor families where food is scarce making healthcare our first priority. For all our children, we monitor the growth curve in weight, height and the psychomotor development of the child and diagnose and intervene immediately when problems arise.

  • Children in prison
    Usually the prison mother’s health and nutritional status allows her to exclusively breast feed until 6 months. Once breastfeeding stops, diversification becomes necessary and it is almost impossible to achieve with the prison’s poor diet. To ensure the baby maintains good health, we take care of the baby until the mother has finished serving her sentence and feels capable of taking care of her child.of her child.
  • Immunisation
    The programme of immunisation is also a very important aspect as we ensure that all our children are immunised against the following:
  • BCG against primary infection of tuberculosis
  • DTC against Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough
  • Poliomyelitis – which is better done after discontinuing of breast-feeding because mother breast milk antibodies neutralise the oral poliomyelitis antigens.
    Measles
  • Hepatitis B – immunisation should be discussed according to the prevalence of the disease. Vaccines are available free to babies under 9 months at certain local clinics.
  • Malaria
    The prevention of Malaria is very important to our home. Due to the cost and possible side effects, we do not use anti-malarial medication. However, we ensure that all our children’s beds and cots are protected with anti-mosquito nets impregnated with mosquito repellent.
  • Medicine
    Here at La Maison d’Arnaud, we cover the healthcare of all of our children and also the costs for urgent cases brought to our attention. We have found that most medicines are available in Madagascar, however, hospitals are not free and the medicine is very expensive as it is sold at European prices. Healthcare and treatment costs continue to be a big financial commitment in our household and any support you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Not only do we aim to enrich the lives of our children, we also aim to enrich the lives of the local community by providing employment and community involvement opportunities.
Our home is run and supported by local people meaning that all of our staff are Malagasy including our Social Worker and the Executive Director. In addition to being employed at La Maison d’Arnaud, our staff also enjoy free summer school opportunities for their children, festivities and holidays with us. We are also always there to support them during a family crisis.

Prison Project

Our prison project came to life when we heard that a female inmate had given birth to a baby and her child was serving out her sentence. When we went to look into this, found that there were several women who, due to a lack of family support, were raising their children in prison. As we got to know the women and the children we realised there were several ways in which we could be useful to this marginalised community and so our 3-fold prison program was developed.

The backbone of our project started from the services we offered the children living in the women’s section of the prison. While living with their mother’s, the prison does not provide rations for them and there are also no other provision of any kind (such as clothes or toys). At first, La Maison d’Arnaud helped by giving each child a care package which includes a rice ration, beans, dried meat/fish, milk and other non-perishable items such as clothes, toys or toiletries.

After working closely with prison authorities as well as local social workers and the mothers themselves, our prison project has expanded. We now run a voluntary placement program through which the mothers may elect to give us temporary custody of the children. As part of this program, the mothers are also automatically enrolled in our specialist social reinsertion program. We support their reintegration into the community once they are released and we help them rebuild their lives to ensure their children are transferred back to them. Since our project launched, La Maison d’Arnaud has welcomed over 8 children into the home.

Our social worker does weekly prison visits to ensure that pregnant women receive the advocacy social support they need. This gives us the opportunity to monitor the pregnancy and provide any antenatal care needed such as medicine, vitamins and additional food.
As part of this scheme, we also support the women at the time of the birth by providing
A medical package – we ensure that the package includes all items needed for the birth, such as cotton wool, alcohol, etc.
Layette for the baby – this has all essential items such as clothes, nappies, blankets, towel, toiletries
Weekly supplementary food packet – this is to ensure a healthy production of milk in new mothers. We encourage mothers to breastfeed as long as mummy and baby are healthy and remain healthy.
Following birth, our team then closely monitors both mother and baby. When the mother feels ready and all parties are in agreement i.e. Prison Director, the Special Judge and mother, only then is the child placed in our care.

Supplementary to the work we do with mothers and young children in the prison, education and rehabilitation is the third stream of our prison project. Designed and launched by one of our volunteers, we now provide classes in literacy and languages to women who are interested in participating.
The success of this course prompted expansion into the minor’s quarters, where children between the ages of 10-18 are incarcerated from various crimes ranging from petty theft to violent assault. The volunteers now run several classes per week in various subjects for both the women and the minors.
Click here to find out more about our volunteering programme.