A Story of Hope from Madagascar

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, Jesus tells us to give special care to those who are most in need. He reminds us of our Christian duty to listen closely to those who often go unheard and to help those most vulnerable.

We all need food to nourish us and keep us healthy. Without food, we find it hard to concentrate, study, do our work or even play. Jesus often shared meals with friends and even strangers, and he teaches us to be generous in sharing what we have to eat with others.

I dream that my children will stay healthy. I hope that Thorin may become a doctor or a leader in our community.
– Frankline

What is your favorite show or movie? Why do you like it? Has it taught you anything new or interesting?

In Madagascar, families gather to watch puppet shows that entertain and teach. They love seeing the brightly colored puppets talk to each other, tell stories and ask the crowd questions. After each show, parents leave with new information to help their families.

Half of all children in Madagascar are undernourished, meaning they don’t have enough nutritious food to stay healthy. Parents want their children to grow up healthy and strong, and the puppet shows give them new knowledge they can use right away to make sure that happens. Community health workers trained by CRS use the puppets to teach families about how doctor visits, hand washing and rainbow foods—different colored foods like tomatoes and carrots that have important vitamins and nutrients—are necessary to stay healthy.

Frankline and Labaladezy have eight children. Their youngest child, Thorin, is almost a year old. While Frankline was pregnant with Thorin, she and her husband Labaladezy watched the puppet shows and learned new ways to support Thorin’s growth and development. When Thorin was born, his parents fed him different, more nutritious foods and took him to the health center for regular check-ups. Thorin is growing a lot and is reaching all his developmental milestones.

Frankline is happy her youngest son is doing so well, and she sees the positive effects of their new rainbow diet on the rest of the family. She says, “I dream that my children will stay healthy. I hope that Thorin may become a doctor or a leader in our community.” Every parent wants their children to reach their full potential, and CRS is helping make sure they can do just that.

REFLECT

What does Jesus’ teaching to “visit those who are ill” mean to you?
What are rainbow foods? What rainbow foods do you and your family eat?

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