A life devoted to the poor
Children rummaging through waste in a huge dump; their stench so strong, animals don’t even come near. This was the sight Father Pedro first saw in 1989 when he arrived in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.
With no money, but with a huge promise, he told these poor: “Together we will get out of here.” With hardly any support, he began talking with the marginalized people living in the streets of Antananarivo, offering them a chance to be saved. This is how Akamasoa – which means “good friend” in the local language – came to be: a community association to fight poverty and abling the poorest to be financially and socially integrated into society.
The result: over 25 years later there are now 22 villages in Akamosao; 300,000 people have been welcomed, cared for and helped; over 11,500 children attend school every day. There are jobs thanks to nearby quarries, to craftmaking and embroidery centers, to a local compost refinery, to agriculture and construction work (masons, carpenters, woodworkers, pavers). Thousands of families have learned to live again – an ongoing commitment to give everyone dignity and a chance to stand proud.
An international movement grew from a promise made in a landfill. Father Pedro has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and his call for democracy has been widely heard.
Father Pedro is a man of uncommon faith and courage, a man who has the courage to point the finger at those whose apathy or ignorance allow so many human beings to live a life that is so very unhuman.
” Love, taking risks, a spirit of adventure, but also free speech, freedom of action and thought”
With these words you have the living portrait of Father Pedro and his choice of living with the poor.