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Akamasoa, a Malagasy word, means "good friends". Akamasoa Association was founded in January, 1990 in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, by Father Pedro Opeka, C.M. Its purpose is to provide direct service to the poor of the region and to work as an NGO (non-governmental organization) to develop relationships and thus foster aid for the area from the government, from foreign embassies and from local and world-wide private organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid.

The objectives of Akamasoa are the physical, psychological and moral rehabilitation of people whose life on the margins had dehumanised; access to work in order to be able to gain a decent wage; to have a "home of one's own" worthy of human beings in order that the family might flourish; the education of the children (the majority of their parents have had no schooling); civic instruction in order to build up a more humane society and Christian instruction in order to value the gift of life given by God. [1]

Akamasoa's first initiative was to contact families living on the streets and in the dump. Antolojanahary, 37 miles northwest of Antananarivo, was the first village created for these families. There they are able to support themselves by working on the land. Subsequently, four additional villages were established in Antananarivo. As of 2004, a total of 15,560 people (2,926 families) were living in the villages, including 8,409 children in primary and secondary schools.

Poverty remains a significant problem in Antananarivo. In 2003 Akamasoa brought direct aid in the form of food, health care and tools to more than 20,000 people. 1,544 brick dwellings were built and, as of 2004, an addition 426 needed to be built to replace temporary wood buildings.

In 2004, Akamasoa paid 3,419 people who were working in various centers for occupational training. There were 189 teachers, 33 health care workers (physicians, nurses, midwives and aids), 29 social workers, and seven general managers for Akamasoa activities and operations.


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