Dear friends,Thanks to GlobalGiving’s endorsement Zahana is entitled to compete for the $10,000 prize money in the Ford Focus Global Test Drive. Another creative fundraising strategy to explore, we just submitted a video. Now we hope to get chosen with your help. If you are on Facebook and would like to support us, the steps are:Please watch the video “Changing lives in Madagascar” click on “love it” in the bottom and encourage all your friends to do the same. If we get enough “love its” we are in and get the $10,000. We only have until Dec 31, so procrastination is not an option anymore. (If this does not work just send me an email at email@example.com and I forward you the URL by email.)
And while you are on Facebook why not “like” Zahana’s Facebook page as well? We are in the process of redesigning our own website www.zahana.org, to make it (hopefully) easier to navigate. Please visit if you get a chance and let us know what you think of the new look.Last but not least with the end of the (tax) year near, we hope you might consider Zahana in your giving as well. You may do so on-line from the links in this update, or you can as always send a good old check in the postal mail to Zahana (see website for details).For the last minute virtual gift you could always download a Zahana Thank you card and make a donation in somebody elses’ name. Happy Holidays,Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus
Dear Friends of Zahana: This is a reminder: Thursday, December 16 is Bonus Day at GlobalGiving. Every donation is matched by 50% until they run out of matching funds. Last time GlobalGiving ran out of matching funds for the first time, so please donate early, if you can. We apologize in case you get this progress report from another GlobalGiving project. This issue is overarching and posted on all three. The latest Zahana report (Nov. 2010) illustrates our definition of “success” quite drastically: Background: In 2006 the community of Fiadanana built their own water system with help from Zahana. Zahana hired the water experts, who living in the village for two months, taught the villagers how to lay pipe from a ground well in the mountains over a mile away. Seven communal faucets provide clean, safe water to everybody all year round all over the village ever since.Report from Ihanta in Madagascar: “In Fiadanana where they got safe drinking water in 2006 through seven communal faucets, the impact is tremendous. A key reason why we found teachers willing to move to the village of Fiadanana was the availability of clean safe drinking water. It is the only village in the area that can make such a claim.Mparany, our Zahana teacher, reported that since he has been living in Fiadanana, no child’s death was reported. The only death in the village was a woman who had surgery in the hospital of Tsiroanomandidy for appendicitis some 2 months ago. Berthine, a member of the women’s group, confirmed that before Zahana in the “hard times period” (époque dure) between the harvests from October to December, it felt like almost every day one child passed away from diarrhea. (She said 26 deaths in 2 months.) She explained that people from Fiadanana now have to carry their water with them if they have to go to another village, since their stomachs don’t feel well drinking the water from the other villages.” (More in our November Newsletter.)It is Zahana’s guiding development philosophy to make life in the villages so livable and attractive that it is worth staying there with your family working the land. A lot of development problems connected with urbanization and sprawling slums attracting impoverished farmers can be avoided if people are not forced to leave for the cities in an often futile search for a better life.As you might plan your end of the year giving, we hope that you will remember Zahana (even if you missed “bonus day”). We have ready-to-use Zahana gift cards you can download off our Zahana website as a do-it-yourself project if you want to add a personal touch. Happy Holidays and thanks for your continued supportIhanta, Jeannette and Markus
Aloha friends of Zahana,
Sometimes we get a photo we really like, such as this one (see below). Later we get a chance to talk with our partners in Madagascar and learn about a story we never imagined behind such a picture.
What you see:
Seven beautiful sisters in the newly community built school in Fiarenana.
What we learned:
The teacher told us that in this family with seven daughters, every day one of the girls is skipping school. Not attending school for any child being very unusual in Fiarenana, Zahana inquired with the parents. They explained that this is indeed the case. The reason being simple: While the parents are out in the fields working all day with the increasing help of the oldest daughter, somebody has to take care of the little one, not in school yet. Not to single out one child as a designated caretaker, they felt the fairest thing to do was to task a different daughter every day to be in charge of their little sister at home.
Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus
Jean our gardener with an amazing green thumb has expanded his activities. Besides continuing to grow trees saplings for the entire community, he is now actively involved in the school curriculum, teaching the children to plant vegetables, such as zucchini, tomatoes and carrots.
The vegetable beds were dug by a group of parents right after the official school opening in March (see that report for details) and the children have been planting and tending to the vegetables ever since. The only well (dug by Zahana), that has water all year round in the village is next to the school. The proximity to water makes it possible for the children to water their plants daily.
It is certainly easier to report about the opening of a school or the planting of trees, but on a more somber note, here is the latest sad news from Madagascar.
Our village of Fiarenana was attacked for the third time by ‘dahalo’, or cattle thieves, a few weeks back. They came into the village at night, shouting loudly, throwing stones at the house and firing gun shots in the air. People huddled inside their houses in fear for their lives. They stole 11 zebu belonging to the pastor and 2 other people in the village. Our contact in the village reported on the cell phone: “The entire districts is devastated and in a state of shock, most villages have been attacked and robbed by dahalo at night, something that we have never experienced before in our area. In the village next to us a 15 year old boy was shot dead”.
Note: Zebu are cattle and prized possessions in Madagascar. Poor farmers raise cattle as a living savings account. They need at least two heads of cattle to plow their fields and pull their carriages. Zebus are an important source of milk. For centuries zebu have had great cultural significance and are vital for funerals.
Guns are very uncommon in Madagascar and nobody in the villages owns any firearms or weapons. In the past cattle thieves were very uncommon in our part of the country and armed with sticks they occasionally stole a cow or two grazing at night far away from the village, scaring and making the child watching it run away. People in Madagascar, rooted in cultural traditions, do not go outside after dark if they can avoid it. Since the situation got more volatile, many farmers have gathered all zebu inside the village at night to guard better against cattle thieves, putting them at the same time as risk of a violent attack inside their village. Fortunately for Zahana, people do not feel that they are more prone to fall prey to dahalo because of their cooperation of working with us, the ‘outsiders’.
We apologize if you get this update more than once, but by the same token say: “thank you for supporting more than one of our projects on GlobalGiving”
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