Jean Luc Mananjara and wife Olive have been raising their three children — now ages 16, 13 and 11 — and a 14-year-old niece in rental units in the Madagascar village of Antsirabe. It is an area of great housing need but also a unique opportunity for The Fuller Center for Housing because a little bit of generosity can go a long way in the area.
Jean Luc and Olive are living proof of that as they recently moved into a brand new Fuller Center home built for just under $2,800. It is a far better situation than renting a cramped space in a home shared with another family — a place where their rent increased anytime they made necessary repairs and improvements to the building. They also have clean water and sanitation through The Fuller Center’s local team in Madagascar.
“I feel like I’ve been living a dream since the construction started,” Jean Luc said through an interpreter. “Today, I am overjoyed. The worries of homelessness are forgotten, and my family has what it needs to improve our lives. I am grateful to The Fuller Center for Housing for changing our lives.”
Like other Fuller Center homeowners around the world, the couple will make zero-percent-interest mortgage payments to repay the building costs. Those payments will go into a fund to help others in their community get the very same hand-up. Olive said she is thrilled to able to pay if forward rather than being a charity case.
“To get a house of our own has always been my dream, but we didn’t have the means to achieve it until The Fuller Center came along,” she said. “I praise God for it, and I thank The Fuller Center for transforming our lives. We are happy that we can repay the costs of materials and labor and pray for the other families to soon have their own homes.”
Olive was not the only happy family member at the recent home dedication. The three children each said that the new home will give them space to study and will be closer to their school.
“I’m happy, happy, happy,” said 16-year-old Nirina. “I’m inspired to work like never before. Getting this house, I now see that everything is possible in life. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to build a house like this someday.”
“I love that we children have our own room,” said 13-year-od Flavien. “It makes me want to work harder at my studies. Before, it wasn’t quiet and I wasn’t motivated. And our parents shared the same room. Now, it’s a better situation, and I’m thankful to everyone who worked so that we could have a peaceful life.”
Their brother Sunley, 11, is particularly grateful for the access to clean water.
“We have drinking water and don’t have to wake up early to draw water from the well,” he said, referring to his family’s time in nearby Mahafaly. “When we had been in Mahafaly, we stood in line every morning to get water for cooking and taking a bath. It was tiresome!”
Director of International Field Operations Ryan Iafigliola visited the island in 2017 shortly after the local partner joined The Fuller Center and said it was some of the worst living conditions he has witnessed in his travels around the world — especially the lack of access to clean water.
“Fuller Center Madagascar is just amazing,” he said today. “They’re dramatically changing families’ lives by building decent and attractive homes. They also help families have access to clean water and sanitation — and they don’t even spend much to do it.”
Photo (below): The family and others pose in front of the new home on dedication day: