Apr 11 2013

Mother in Madagascar puts a spin on her career


Marcelline, mother of a CFCA sponsored child in Madagascar, repairs a tire.

Meet Marcelline, a 36-year-old mother of four children in Madagascar. She found a creative way to help her family and break gender barriers, by repairing bicycles! One of her children,12-year-old Elie Jean, is sponsored through CFCA.

Life is very difficult. My husband walked out on us, leaving me with the responsibility of caring for our four children. Luckily, one of my children was sponsored through CFCA.

I tried my best to put my other children in school, but unfortunately one dropped out because I could not keep up with the school fees.

I hardly make enough money to support my children. I thank God because CFCA stepped in and assisted me with the educational expenses for my son.

My son’s sponsorship paid for his school fees and he did not have to skip classes. His school supplies were also provided, and this really made me happy.

From CFCA we get nutrition benefits that help us, and I meet twice a month with the CFCA mothers group. I am excited to obtain a loan through my mothers group. We also advise and support each other in the group. We have become a family.

Other basic needs, such as clothes, are harder to come by, but we just live one day at a time.

When my husband left me, I was so desperate for work I decided to take any job I could to put food on the table for my children. I decided to try my luck in bicycle repair work.

pousse pousse

Marcelline repairing a pousse pousse.

As a child, I used to spend time with my dad who was very good at repairing bicycles and “pousse pousse,” a type of cart, which is the most common means of transport in Antsirabe, Madagascar. It is from my father that I borrowed this art.

A female bicycle repair person is not common and women shy away from it, but I decided to try my luck.

Some women look down on me when they get to know the kind of work I do, and it makes me feel bad. In my line of work I have to wear shorts and pants, and some people will think less of me as a woman because of the way I dress. I also get dirty and this makes some people look down on me.

But, I always try to do my best and not disappoint my customers. I love my work and my clients tend to trust me over my male counterparts, which makes me happy.

The male bicycle repairmen really respect me. They tease me from time to time, but just jokingly. They keep telling me they admire me because I am a strong woman.

I want to see my children succeed in their lives. I want them to have an opportunity to get a good education so that it may pave the way for greater opportunities.

I want to thank my child’s sponsor for his support. I pray that God may reward him for everything he is doing for us.

I also want to thank CFCA for walking with us and making us feel that we are important and we are loved.

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