Sarobidy is the word for “precious” in Malagasy. The lives of these women are precious, their hope is precious and the work of their hands is precious.
Married & Mother of 4
Andrea Sophie grew up in a fractured family where the divorce of her parents forced her to drop out of school early. Married with four children of her own, Andrea Sophie has had several jobs—most of which discouraged a breastfeeding mother to bring her baby to work. As a result, it was often difficult to maintain employment and Andrea Sophie and her husband often had to borrow money from family and friends to pay for school fees and buy food.
Her employment with Sarobidy Creations has allowed them to pay off their loans and find freedom from being controlled by debt.
When asked what her goal for her four children is, Andrea Sophie replied without hesitation, “that they would finish school, find good jobs, understand how to live well in community and that they would have a blessed life”.
“I’ve been able to help my family, can help my husband share in the financial responsibility and provide food for our family and kids education”.
- Andrea Sophie
Married & Mother of 3
Marie Estella grew up as the only girl in a family with 4 brothers in the countryside of Madagascar. Growing up in an area where there wasn’t a school, Marie Estella lacked the opportunity to learn to read and write. “Being illiterate made me feel like I just don’t know how to do anything”.
Sarobidy Creations is Marie Estella’s first job, one in which she received a different type of education, has learned the art of making beautiful designs, and one in which she is able to contribute to the daily needs of her family, including rent, food, utilities and even a bed and television. As the needs of the family are met, stress has decreased and her marriage has strengthened.
When asked her about goals, Marie Estella shared,
“to increase my knowledge by learning how to make more things with my hands, to continue to help my family, and that my children would receive the proper education that I missed as a child.”
- Marie Estella
Married & Mother of 3
As one of eight children, Seraphine dropped out of school in the equivalent of eighth grade. Now at 30 years old, Seraphine is married with 3 children of her own. For several years, her children were in and out of school depending on if the family had the money to pay for their public education. In order to provide for her family, Seraphine would sell small breads and juices on the side of the road, sometimes making less than 50cents a day for her efforts. This meager amount of money would afford the family of five just one cup of rice, a handful of sweet potato leaves and the charcoal on which to cook their one meal for the day. During this time, Seraphine walked around the community with her head hanging low and her eyes downcast.
Working with Sarobidy Creations since 2013, Seraphine and her family now choose from highly nutritious food each day—beans, fish and meat in addition to their vegetables and daily rice. In addition, her three boys are in school full-time as they are able to pay for their children’s school fees up front for the entire school year.
Today, Seraphine holds her head high as she walks with purpose as a woman, wife and mother who can care and provide for her family.
“It’s wonderful to work together as a family to accomplish the orders for SC, to share our lives and to pray for one another.”
Married & Mother of 4
Growing up on the high plateau of Madagascar, Claudine was one of 13 children. Natural artisan skills run in the family as Claudine’s father was a wood carver and her mother was a hat weaver and Claudine herself dreamt of becoming a seamstress. At 15 years old, Claudine quit school.
As a mother of four children, Claudine does everything she can to provide for her family, especially when her husband is unemployed. She washes clothes by hand for other families in addition to her part-time work with Sarobidy Creations. As a result of her hard work and dedication to her family, Claudine’s three older children have remained in school while the youngest, just 2 years old remains at home.
Claudine’s prayer is that the work of Sarobidy Creations would continue to expand and that her four children would grow up well, be educated and find work to care for their own families.
"I've done work I never thought I could do and my eyes have been opened to the possibilities of a different life. I have earned respect from my husband and family because I can share in the financial responsibility."
Married & Mother of 5
When Elisa was married at 16 years old, she dropped out of school and a year later, became a mother at the age of 17. Five children later, Elisa and her family desperately struggled to survive on the meager income of her husband. Elisa recalls fighting daily hunger and depression and shares the harsh realities of their situation, “the poverty was so distracting, it wreaked havoc on life, family, and our marriage”.
With her wages from Sarobidy Creations, Elisa paid for a nine-month sewing school program and upon graduation, purchased a sewing machine. In addition to her work with Sarobidy Creations, Elisa is taking orders and sewing clothes for others.
Beaming with life in her eyes, Elisa shares that her marriage is strong and her family is happy!
Elisa has been working with Sarobidy Creations since 2012.
Single & Mother of 3
As a single mother of two small children, Genotine struggled to provide for her family. Dropping out of school in 6th grade is an all too common occurrence in Madagascar. In order to provide for her family, Genotine and her mom have a small plot of land where they grow felka or sweet potato leaves. They then sell their harvest on the side of the road– the two of them together make roughly $8.65 a month by selling their felka. $8.65 a month… for a family of four.
Genotine loves the creativity of working with her hands and is witnessing the blessing of the work of Sarobidy Creations as it helps her family. Genotine’s prayer is that the work of Sarobidy Creations would increase, that her oldest son (4 years old) will start school this coming year and that she would grow closer to the Lord.
Married & Mother of 1
Minah is the only woman in Sarobidy Creations with a high school diploma. When she was little, Minah dreamt of becoming a midwife and began working towards this goal in college, however three months into her studies Minah dropped out of school because of family finances.
Though her husband is employed, the family of three still struggled to meet their basic needs and often times turned to extended family for money.
Employment with Sarobidy Creations not only allows this family to provide for themselves but to also increase their health by adding protein-rich meat and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables to their diet and to purchase a table and chairs where they share family meals together.
“I enjoy working with my hands and to see the beautiful creations that I make and I love the community of women that I work with that have become family”.
Married & Mother of 3
At 19 years old, Zalestiny has lived the classic cycle of extreme poverty. As the oldest of five kids, her parents couldn’t afford to send her to school and needed her help to care for her four siblings. As a result, Zalestiny, is completely illiterate-- unable to read or write. Zalestiny has never been married and had her first baby when she was 16 years old. She now lives with Dadakely, the father of her second baby.
Zalestiny was one of the first women to enter the Sarobidy Maternity Center program in early June 2013, four months later she delivered a healthy beautiful baby boy, Gabrino. Zalestiny attended the educational classes and her prenatal & postpartum appointments faithfully each week. While at the Sarobidy Maternity Center, Zalestiny learned about her pregnancy, labor and delivery, what to do when her baby gets sick, nutrition, family planning and a whole host of preventable yet deadly medical conditions that affect women and babies in Madagascar. When her son was 6 months old, Zalestiny proudly received her first ever graduation certificate-- from the Sarobidy Maternity Center.
When asked what differences she experienced in her first and second pregnancies, Zalestiny said that at the Sarobidy Maternity Center, she felt loved, cared for, accepted, and helped in the process during a precious time in her life. As a child, Zalestiny dreamt of becoming a teacher, she now shares the knowledge that she learned at the maternity center with the community of women around her... Zalestiny has indeed, become a teacher! The Lord is gracious!
Like many of the women, Zalestiny and her family continued to live in extreme poverty before, during and after her time at the maternity center. How does a mother and father provide for a family of four on less than $1.90 a day? After graduation, Zalestiny was invited into the Sarobidy Creations artisan program. Zalestiny is now making beautiful handcrafted fabric necklaces. She is receiving great & steady wages and is standing proudly as a mother who can provide. Zalestiny and her family have since been able to purchase their first mattress for their bed, clothes for their children, and buy protein-rich food such as meat and eggs.
When asked how God is moving in her life, Zalestiny replied, “I can see God’s hand at work through His provision of employment, His grace and His love for me and my family”.
“I have a job, a purpose of vocation. I’ve learned to use my hands to make beautiful things. Because of my employment with SC, I’ve been able to get married, bought a bed and I can buy food, clothes and toys for my children.”