“Getting a CEPE is a very big deal for everybody. Nobody in their village ever got a CEPE so far”, our friend Dr. Ihanta told us on Skype. “Eight of our students from our Fiadanana school took the exam. They had been preparing for weeks every day with their teacher. Seven of our Students passed the exam, while from other village schools only 30% to 50% of the students did so well.”In Madagascar a CEPE is a Certificat d'etudes primaires élémentaires (or Certificate of Primary Studies). A nation-wide standardized test, it can be awarded after attending five years of primary education. Students that don't pass either leave school without a CEPE or may try again after repeating the year in school. Zahana’s school in Fiadanana is now 5 years old and these are our first students who qualified to take the CEPE. Established as private schools, Zahana has more educational freedom in choosing a culturally appropriate curriculum, but our children do qualify to take an external exam for the CEPE. Successfully passing the CEPE exam is a prerequisite to enroll in secondary education. In Madagascar the CEPE - a milestone in a child’s life. It is a family affair and is at least as important as getting a high school diploma in the USA. Parents and grandparents accompany their children, who can range from 8 to 16 years of age, to the exam, often far away from home. They buy them a special auspicious lunch (something village children never get) and wait outside rooting for them the entire time. If they pass, they get gifts and in villages their diploma often gets framed, with glass, and hung in a prominent spot in the home.Our students had to walk for two hours with their families to Bevato, the district’s administrative center and sit in a strange new building they had never been in before. While you might wonder why a bottle of Coke is proudly held up like a trophy, this is most likely their only soda this year and something very special. If you count the bottles in the photos, you can see bottles: five of the children and their teacher to the right (who got the same rewards too).
Dear friends,We are happy and proud to announce that for August 2011 Zahana is featured in the ‘Project of the Month Club’ at GlobalGiving. Every month GlobalGiving awards this designation to a new exceptionally high performing project. For August our ‘Solar cookers for the school in Fiadanana’ takes the spotlight on the GlobalGiving website. We are thankful to GlobalGiving for this great opportunity to reach a wider audience of dedicated donors for Zahana. Please check it out and let all your friends know.Best regards,Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus
Dear friends,Please look at the pictures attached (you may need to click on the link in your email to see them on-line); pictures are the core of our update. Dr. Ramihantaniarivo, Zahana’s founder draws inspiration from Sarvoday in Sri Lanka, one of the largest indigenous community based development organizations. Rooted in Buddhist thinking the Sarvodaya Movement has identified ten elementary and basic needs for development. Number one is: “A clean and beautiful environment”. Creating a beautiful environment is one of these less tangible things. It does not have a budget or a dollar value attached. It makes people proud to be living where they are. In the spirit of this development need, the children have been encouraged to plant flowers around their schools, creating a beautiful space for them to spend their days learning in a rather arid environment.
How many schools have roses flowering next to their (only) classroom door?Thank you for your support for our workIhanta, Jeannette and Markus
In mid March of 2011 we got a call from Fiarenana's teacher (cell phones are amazing) that the food situation in the village is getting much worse. Many children were so hungry, they couldn't attend school anymore. All the while their parents had to spent all day in the the rice paddies, making sure the future rice harvest would be tended. Zahana immediately bought and delivered bags of noodles and protein powder, so the children could get a bowl of soup in school. The pictures are from the first day after the ingredients arrived there. Thank you to all of you who support our project and make such effort possible.
We could not have done it without your support! The temptation was big to just send a progress report with two words: “Thank you”. But, we wanted to explain it a bit more: February 2011 Zahana was awarded “Superstar” status, the highest level an organization can reach on GlobalGiving! Regular progress report by our amazing Malagasy team, combined with your donor support got us among the 30 superstars, a brand new program launched at GlobalGiving. Last but not least: March 16 - Bonus Day at GlobalGiving.On March 16, 2011 GlobalGiving is matching at 30% all online donations (up to US$1,000 per donor per project) with $75,000 available in matching funds. The last time matching funds were depleted half way into the Bonus Day, so be ready midnight EST on March 16 if you would like to top off your generous donation to Zahana.Thank you.Ihanta, Jeannette and MarkusP.S. Zahana did not get chosen for the Ford Focus test drive in February 2011.
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