Omeo Bon Bon: story and facts
Omeo bon bon, in the language of Madagascar means: give me a toffee… this is what the children are asking for in the streets when you are walking around and this is the name we decided to give to our no profit association.
The idea to start all this came to my friend Antonio and myself, Emanuele, in 2005 at the end of a long period of common work to increase our self consciousness, practicing Yoga and meditation; we both were tired of living and acting like the ”system” wanted us to, feeling that there was something better to do in life (and for life) than, for me, being an export manager and, for Antonio, being a doctor psycologist.
In spring 2005, following an invitation to go to Madagascar that Antonio got from a friend missionaire, he went there for a couple of months and, when he came back to Italy, he said: I know what we can do for our future , take care of street children in Madagascar… so we have done all necessary to open an official and regular no profit association and in november 2005 he went there to start the activity and came back to Italy only three times since.
With my commercial back ground I care about funds raising to keep everything going and Antonio cares about all activities organization in Madagascar, it was natural to share in this way the work to do.
The first year was spent more trying to understand what to do better with the limited resources we had, most of the time feeling very frustrated because of the enormous need of help of these street children we couldn’t face. We had soon to realize that it was impossible to help everybody and that it would have been better to concentrate helping at our best the few allowed by what we had rather than giving nearly nothing to a lot.
In 2007 we decided it would have been better to start giving a house to some children trying to grow them in a more protected environment, sending them to school, assuring sanitary care etc. so, in accordance with local authorities (Omeo bon bon is officialy recognized and approved by the government of Madagascar), we rented a large house to welcome 20 of these children, chosen by the social services among those in most desperate conditions.
In 2011, as the funds raising was improving and increasing our spending possibilities, we started a program of daily assistance to more street children. So we rented another large house, employed 5 teachers and started a ”food and school” program where the children have granted 3 meals per day and basic teaching to take them to the level necessary to enter the public school…we started with 20 and today are around 200 the children that count on us for a better life possibility.
In 2013, with increasing donations, we bought 15000 square metres of land and started to build a new house that, once finished, will allow us to give a home also to many more (60 to 80) children that now are compelled to go back to the street corner they live in after the daily activities (and meals) we provide. On our land we’ll also build a new school and a small hospital open to all, we are open to everybody and don’t want to be a closed community… till today we built the complete three floors house and started to finish the inside of the ground floor, partially installed the water system and bought the majority of the materials needed for the electric one, believing that miracles do happen, we are quite confident that before the end of the 2019 we’ll be able to move into our new home.
In the meantime we have several other side activities going on: we built a very basic cantine in a close by rural area to provide lunch every day to over 80 children going to the local school, they arrive at lunch time finding a hot meal rather than walking the long way home with empty stomach to find nearly nothing there to eat.
Twice a week 30\40 street children come to our place to play, eat and start a basic learning activity, this is the first step to enter, if they want, the ”food and school” program.
We provide sanitary care also to adults in need of help, when they come to us asking for help we give them a coupon they take to the local hospital to receive assistance and we pay the bill at the end of every month.
We do believe that the best way to help the children to grow with a hope for a normal life is to provide EDUCATION…the large majority of the 3rd world poors don’t even know to have the right to leave a decent life, to have the right to work and earn a decent salary, to have the right to be free and not slaves of a system purposely built to keep them in that condition, with the sight to the dark below rather than to the light above.
All our educational activities are therefore intended to help the people rise their eyes to the light of a better tomorrow…we know that we are only a little drop in the ocean but are also sure that, if we were not there, the ocean would miss our drop.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.
EMANUELE AND ANTONIO