An Ottawa family is building a secondary school in Madagascar in hopes of preventing child trafficking in the African country.
Blake and Catherine Potter, along with their four children, are hosting garage sales, selling lemonade and making lip balms to raise money to build a school in the village of Ambatomirahavavy, Madagascar.
Their goal is to raise $5,000 to contribute to construction materials, food and school supplies for the local children.
Blake fell in love with the Island country during his time there as a service missionary in 2001. He saw the extreme poverty and when he returned to Canada, his wife said he couldn’t get the Malagasy people out of his mind.
Blake Potter was inspired to help after spending time in Madagascar as a service missionary. (Blake Potter)
“We have continually had the needs of the Malagasy people tugging at our hearts over the years, and after learning about the tragedy of human trafficking occurring to many children there, we couldn’t wait any longer to get involved,” said Catherine.
“As parents of four beautiful children, it is hard to imagine them growing up in those conditions.”
A 2011 UNICEF report found 75 per cent of children don’t complete anything beyond primary school.
“Those who work in the human trafficking industry know this and target the parents, offering a ‘better life’ for their children,” she explained.
“Sadly, the parents are often tricked to do what seems like the best they can do for their children.”
The four Potter children help man a garage sale and lemonade stand to raise funds before their Dad goes to build the school. (Catherine Potter)
“They feel a bond and connection and we make sure they recognize how fortunate they are to be living in such a country as Canada, and to be going to school,” Catherine says.
She added they hope to bring the children there one day to connect with the children face to face.
“Yes, we all have our challenges even though we live in Canada, but typically our challenges don’t have to do with the most basic necessities of life,” Catherine said. Ottawa family building school in Madagascar to prevent child trafficking – Ottawa – CBC News