Years ago, in honour of Mother’s Day, we introduced you to Florette and her daughter Minu, from rural Madagascar. This past February, our team visited them again, and we wanted to share an update with you.
You may remember that Florette is a widowed mother of four who supports her family by farming. She’s also a volunteer eye care advocate, who spends her spare time going door-to-door to find people with vision problems and refers them for care. She encourages and counsels families, especially women and children, to attend screening camps and take advantage of the available services.
Minu and her mother Florette holding photos of themselves from our last visit in 2015
When we first met Florette, she told us: “This is a volunteer position but I believe it’s important to help improve the welfare of my community. I would not change it for the world.”
Her daughter, Minu, clearly saw her mother as a role model: “I am very proud. When I grow up, I hope to be a doctor so that I can have the same positive impact on our community,” she said.
When we caught up with Florette and Minu all these years later, we were eager to know – is Florette still an eye care advocate or has she retired? Is Minu on her way to becoming a doctor?
Knowing how passionately Florette cared for her community, we weren’t surprised to learn that after 28 years of volunteering, she is still just as enthusiastic and committed. She has even turned the main floor of her home into a meeting place where she holds regular gatherings to discuss eye care and other health-related topics and to connect her guests to the resources they need.
“People in the community have always been afraid to go to the hospital for eye care, but these days they are much more likely to accept the help, compared to when I started,” she told us. “Even today, while we are talking, people are coming up to me asking to have their eyes checked. They know that their sight can be restored and I will accompany them to the hospital and stay with them through their procedure and recovery, if they are feeling afraid.”
And what about Minu? Does she still want to be a doctor?
Like most kids, she has changed her mind about her future career. What remains the same is her desire to help her fellow Malagasies. Just like her mother, she wants to make her community and her country better.
Minu is studying agricultural sciences at the University of Antananarivo, hoping that she can help improve farming practices in her community and the country as a whole. She is currently working on a project to increase rice farming yields, so the people of Madagascar can more easily feed their families.