Madagascar crisis: this is Maharavo’s story

Stories | December 1, 2021

In times of crisis, people with disabilities are often more deeply impacted and less likely to receive help than the broader population.

And sadly, that situation is being played out in the African island country of Madagascar where millions of people are gripped by a worsening humanitarian crisis caused by a severe drought in mid-2021 and compounded by the impact of Covid-19.

The United Nations’ World Food Programme estimates that about 1.3 million people need urgent assistance and that close to 30,000 people are considered critically food insecure – meaning they are on the brink of famine. There are devastating reports of people resorting to eating insects and leaves just to stay alive.

Each of these people is a parent, sibling or child with their own hopes, ambitions and struggles. The current crisis is threatening their livelihoods and their lives – with no end in sight.

The human impact of the Madagascar crisis is seen in a story like that of Maharavo, a 12-year-old boy with a physical and intellectual disability.

The little boy needs help to sit up and to chew. Due to his complex health problems, he is only able to eat porridge and rice soup, the latter which is expensive and considered a luxury by his parents.

Because Maharavo requires around the clock care by his parents, his father is unable to work full time. This places further strain on the family’s finances and is also a source of stress for Maharavo’s father who says, “a man should work, not just stay at home.”

The catastrophic situation in Madagascar has the potential to make life even more difficult for Maharavo and his family.

People with disabilities are being left behind in a number of ways, like places where food and money are distributed being inaccessible to people with physical disabilities through to a lack of accessible information available to people with intellectual, hearing or vision impairments.

There has never been a more important time to ensure that people like Maharavo and his family can not only survive the current crisis – but flourish on the other side.

Can you provide an urgent gift to CBM today to help provide life-saving supplies directly to people with disabilities? Donate here

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