Day 6The centre we are visiting today in Mananjary is a little special: it is the C.A.T.J.A. (Centre d’Accueil et de Transit des Jumeaux Abandonnés). We were kindly welcomed by Mrs. Julie, who gave us the following explanations. We distributed clothing bags, soap boxes, wooden games, some dolls and crochet toys for babies. We picked up a few smiles that warmed our hearts after hearing the story of a very sad beginning of life from some of these dear children:
Mrs. Julie created this centre in 1987 with the help of friends of CATJA, in France (among the members, there are two Swiss families), to help twins who are abandoned, according to a local custom/ban that guarantees the bad omen to those who give birth and guard twins. Newborns are therefore both abandoned by their parents at birth. Fortunately, today, mentalities are changing and, as a general rule, multiple births from cities are no longer subject to this custom and children are raised by their parents. Cases persist in rural areas where people are less educated. In 1992, CATJA’s statutes were amended and from that year on, the centre was also opened to orphans and other abandoned children. To run the establishment, 26 people work there, currently caring for 92 children between the ages of 0 and 20. Of these children, 23 are those of the employees who live on the site, and 69 are foster children.
Fortunately for children, the centre is open for adoption. Due to the often long and complicated adoption process, children stay at the centre for at least 1 year before leaving for their foster family, and as far as twins are concerned, they are never separated. Within the next two months, two pairs of twins will go to France, where they have been adopted. Medication and powdered milk are the main things that are regularly missing at the centre. If you want to help them directly, you can contact Mrs Julie, director of the centre, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)