March 6, 2021 // World News

Madagascan puppet shows emphasize health, nutrition

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 Catholic Relief Services 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 Fanomezantsoa Rasoanandrasana, 41 years old, and her son Thorin, 11 months, by their home in Miary Ankoranga village, Miary commune, Toliara district, Madagascar.

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 than their other children 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 said, “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.

Information provided by Catholic Relief Services.

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