Noé RajerisonAssociate Director of Programs (USA)
Noé Rajerison is an Assistant Program Manager at MiracleFeet. He shares his story of growing up in Madagascar and moving to America to work with MiracleFeet. Here’s a look at his recent trip back to his beloved island.
We finally landed in Madagascar and I smelled the familiar aroma of burning wood, damp tropical earth, and rice. I knew I was home.
I was born and raised in Madagascar, the beautiful “Red Island,” off the southeast coast of the African continent. It’s known for amazing flora and fauna, unlike anywhere else on earth. Many come to the fourth largest island in the world to see the various types of lemurs or other curious creatures.
Many people don’t know that Madagascar is so richly blessed, yet still full of challenges. Healthcare, and access to it, is a struggle since basic infrastructure (i.e., roads, electricity, and clean water) is inconsistent throughout the island.
Growing up, I was very lucky to be a healthy kid. I remember seeing children with clubfoot, yet I didn’t know what it was. I certainly didn’t know it was something treatable. Often times in the larger cities, there are kids on the street begging for money. Many of these children have physical deformities–especially clubfoot. They often don’t go to school and become marginalized. They become adults who aren’t fully able to contribute productively to society.
Now, as an employee of MiracleFeet, I understand how this problem can be fixed. MiracleFeet provides the capacity building to clubfoot care providers. We make treatment more affordable – a necessity since most Malagasy families have a very low income and often rely on farming or harvesting. Our team works with a network of clinics to provide care in various parts of the island.
As the plane touched down, I reflected on all of this: the exciting work to be done, the challenges that will arise, and I think how I am so blessed to have ended up working at MiracleFeet. I met my wife in Madagascar and we returned to her hometown in America to start a new family chapter. We have two beautiful, healthy children. We live in this amazing country where treatment is available to them for most health issues they may experience.
My contribution to my “Nosy Malalako” (Beloved Island) is that I would like all Malagasy children with clubfoot to be able to run and play just like mine do. With MiracleFeet, I know this can happen. The impact of MiracleFeet’s work isn’t limited to the children and families treated. There’s a broader impact on development, the economy, and the infrastructure of the country. When you treat clubfoot, you are also helping that child to become a positive, active participant in society, where they are more engaged in the world around them and more likely to get an education.
We got off the plane and made our way into the capital city. This is one adventure I can’t wait to continue in other countries as well–the adventure of bringing MiracleFeet to those in need.