We are a group home and rehabilitation center for girls. We take in girls (and sometimes their children) from birth to age 18. Most AAF girls are teenagers, but a few are under 12. AAF girls are not orphans: most have at least one parent or an extended family that they hope to go home to. Girls come to live with us for two reasons:
They have been arrested, usually for crimes of desperation like theft, prostitution or drug use. These girls are either awaiting trial or have been already been sentenced to stay with us, for periods of up to two years. For these girls, our home is an alternative to adult prison. Sadly, there are not enough diversion centers like ours, so many Malagasy children end up in adult prisons.
They have been abused or neglected. These girlsusually come to the attention of the authorities because they are working at a very young age and being mistreated by employers, or because they have been abandoned and are living on the streets.
Regardless of the legal reason they are with us, all girls who live here have experienced trauma and loss.
The social welfare system in Madagascar does not have separate courts for juvenile justice and child welfare. All children go the same court and appear before a juvenile court judge, who makes the decisions about their future. For most, the goal is family reunification and return to their home communities. We facilitate this through supervised visits and family support.
Some girls have no home to go back to, and we provide them with the support, education and training they need to become independent adults and active community members. We support all alumnae to continue their education or vocational training after they return home or reach independence.