A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana

by Zahana
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A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana
A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana

Maybe the proud faces with their brand-new bikes tell more than words in this report?

As an unforeseen consequence of COVID-19, our training team members are now the proud owners of bicycles. Zahana bought bicycles so they could reach the remote villages for workshops on building improved cookstoves, bio-charcoal production and reforestation. This allows them to travel on their own time and much quicker than on foot.

Private mini buses, the only public mode of transportation in Madagascar, were basically rendered nonexistent for months because of COVID-19 restrictions. In prior reports for our improved coostove project, we shared that the team had resorted to walking from their town to the villages for the workshops.  Walking not only takes longer but also it leaves them more vulnerable. With bicycles they can reach the villages in a few hours compared to what before took a day or more on foot. Consequently, they can spend more time teaching than traveling. As a safety precaution they only travel in teams of two or more.

We are grateful for the Coronavirus Relief Fund from GlobalGiving and support from donors like you that make this technological mobility leap possible.

As part of our COVID-19 prevention activities we have recently posted a videoTop of FormBottom of Form ‘Learning how to wash hands with soap in rural Madagascar’ on YouTube. We hope you spend (literally) a minute watching it.

It is only prudent to mention that #GivingTuesday on December 1 is approaching fast. Ironically it falls on the same date as World AIDS Day this year. Most likely this is not the only email reminding you of that date. After all, many non-profits are scrambling for donations in these COVID-19 uncertain times and we are in good company.

For 2020 #GivingTuesday, GlobalGiving offers 1 million dollars of matching funds for 24 hours (starting 00:00 EDT). So, if you want to add something extra to your donation, this might be a good opportunity.

The funds will be distributed proportional to the total amount we raise up to a maximum of $2,500 per donation. Details of this (rather hard to explain) model can be found on the GlobalGiving website as a brain gym exercise. 

A word about Monthly donors

Thank you to all of our monthly donors! Your steady support is the backbone for our activities.

If you feel so inclined, we are actively encouraging a monthly donation that spreads your total gift out over 12 months and helps us plan better for the future. Monthly donations reduce the anxiety of how much we are going to actually raise as most of the donations are received at the end-of-the year in December.

Currently your first donation gets matched by GlobalGiving 100%. As an added bonus there is a 200% match of your first month’s donation from December 14 to 18, 2020. To sweeten the deal, monthly donations also help us with the internal ranking at GlobalGiving more than a one-time donation.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Practice is always good
Practice is always good
Training for the wide open road
Training for the wide open road
The team and their work horses
The team and their work horses
At the destination it is the talk of the town
At the destination it is the talk of the town

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Learning about masks for the new school year
Learning about masks for the new school year

Back to school for zahana means every student gets:

  • a mask,
  • a bar of soap,
  • vitamin C and
  • a package of cookies

to celebrate the special occasion.

We opted to give every student their personal bar of soap to wash their hands (see YouTube video).  They are encouraged to take this bar of soap home and teach the rest of the family to hopefully use it daily.They are encouraged to wash their hands with soap before they come to school. In addition we left a three-month supply of soap with the teachers for the school lunch. A 14-day supply of vitamin C boosts their immune system, with instruction by their teachers when and how to use it either (if they get it at all) with breakfast or before the school lunch. As a tiny lozenge, the 500 mg vitamin C can be taken without water. Masks in schools are required. The cookies are self-explanatory.

After months of Covid-19 prevention related closures this new school year starts late, in November. But in 2020 not with long awaited pencils and note books from Zahana, as in prior years.

Explaining the Vitamin C packages
Explaining the Vitamin C packages
Teacher handing our masks
Teacher handing our masks

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The brave students who took the CEPE
The brave students who took the CEPE

Eight (8) of our Zahana students passed this test successfully in September

The Certificat d'Études Primaires Élémentaires (CEPE*) or the primary school diploma is a very big deal in Madagascar.

Since the 2019 school year Zahana has a new head teacher plus three new teachers.

The nation wide shutdown of all schools made an exception for students studying for national exams. Our new head teacher offered his students a specialized CEPE prep curriculum. 15 students took him up on the offer, and went throught the special training and 11 took the test.

To take the actual CEPE exam, all students walked with their parents to the nearest town to a school that offered the national standardized test. Most of them left their village for first time In their lives for three days and passed the test in a new and unfamiliar place. For them the CEPE was a three day event: One day to walk to town, one day to take the test and one day to walk back home. Thanks to the generosity of the head teacher’s family, all of them had a place to spend the two nights in town.

*CEPE: The nationwide test this year was on September 1, 2020. This national standard test can be taken after five years of schooling and is a requirements to pursue secondary education. For the vast majority of people in Madagascar, this is the only diploma they might ever get. The CEPE is a written exam, administered face-to-face and delivered through paper-pencil tests. More on our website.

Peparing for the CEPE in COVID times
Peparing for the CEPE in COVID times
This photo of commemorates the CEPE in their house
This photo of commemorates the CEPE in their house
Father with his two CEPE candidates
Father with his two CEPE candidates
Mother and daughter who took the CEPE
Mother and daughter who took the CEPE

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Our graduate with the baccalaureate
Our graduate with the baccalaureate

Donné is the first student of Zahana’s schools to graduate with a baccalaureate in his village! We all need good news, in these strange times of COVID-19 and asked our partners in Madagascar for a story from a Malagasy perspective.

Let me share with you the life story of one of our students from Fiadanana: Donné.

His story, deeply rooted in the history of Zahana, deserves to be told, to highlight the importance of education. Living in a small, remote village in the high plateau does not mean that you are doomed to remain illiterate.
At the opening of our first school built by the community and Zahana in his village (link), a few dozen children registered at first, and Donné was one of them.

Our teachers received a special training by our educational specialist Jane. It was based on a German strategy focusing on a tailor-made curriculum for a community that never had a school before, adapted to their local reality (see website). Jane assured us, that if the method is followed by the teachers, the students should be able to achieve a higher standard compared to those in the public schools.

3 years later, first just as a test case, we made the decision to send 7 students to take the CEPE, a nationwide exam. In fact, the CEPE can be taken normally after 5 years of primary schooling (CEPE webpage).

The result was amazing: 6 out of the 7 students, including Donné and his brother Doré passed the CEPE exam with success. Having obtained his CEPE among the best in his region, Donne wanted to continue his secondary studies with the dream to become a medical doctor.

Zahana's philosophy is to train young people where they live so that they can prepare for their better future there, not to train them to leave the village for an unsure adventure in the city. We made an exception by sending him and two others to the public secondary school a two-hours walk from their home at CEG (see website). He obtained his BEPC after 4 years, the best of his class we may add, allowing him to attend high school.

Schools at this level (high school) are based in a city only and he was forced to move there to continue his education (a 5-hours walk from his village). The difference between the way of living in his village and the city life didn’t disturb him in his dream.

At the beginning, facing living in a city, he initially wanted to become a priest. With time, as he got used to the new rhythm of life he changed his mind and wanted to become an agricultural engineer.

Based on his choice, he continued his studies at a private technical agricultural college and obtained his technical baccalaureate after 3 years of studies making him the first person to hold such a diploma in his village. His brother Doré was supposed to graduate later in 2020, but with all colleges closed at the moment due to COVID-19, this remains to be seen.

While his father was still alive he wanted his children to be able to study and was very supportive of his sons. Donne worked diligently in this direction to make this dream come true, and even after his father’s untimely passing, Donne continued on to honor the memory of his father.

The baccalaureate, his highest degree, allows him to continue to attend the University, but given the current situation, by mutual agreement, we have opted for another approach.

After he graduated agricultural school he moved back in his village to be closer to his mother and siblings. For now he stays in the village to apply what he learned and to start his own business. To achieve this, he is supported by technicians of our improved cookstove team in the field (management, farming business, animal husbandry). Many in our team have decades of experience teaching at the local collage, the Lycée Technique Professionnel Tsiroanomandidy (Technical Professional College of Tsiroanomandidy) and have taken Donné under their wing. He accompanies them on their training workshops and they mentor him with tailormade hands-on trainings.

For the moment he loves his job thus making Zahana proud.

Dr. Ihanta, Founder of Zahana

The 7 Students who passed the first CEPE in 2011
The 7 Students who passed the first CEPE in 2011
Getting uniform & supplies for secondary school
Getting uniform & supplies for secondary school
After the BREC ready for highschool
After the BREC ready for highschool
The family comes to town to drop them off
The family comes to town to drop them off
We play it cool waiting for the high school entran
We play it cool waiting for the high school entran

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Trees start small in out schools
Trees start small in out schools

Why does the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York show the Zahana video Combining reforestation with locally made improved cook stoves in Madagascar?

Which kid (or adult) in a zoo does not make a b-line to the Lemurs? The trees where lemus roamed freely behind the secondary school in the next town over are long gone. But is does not have to stay this way, if our students have any say in it.

We live in an interconnected world and the Seneca Park zoo is a supporter of our reforestation efforts. Think lemurs. Lemurs need trees in their habitat, if they are to survive in the wild. The zoo supports another incredible innovative reforestation project next to a national park, because zoos are major players in conservation efforts world-wide, as we learned through this relationship

Seneca Park Zoo’s goal is to support the reforestation efforts of other Malagasy NGOs like Zahana as well. They generously included us as recipients in their annual Madagascar event for the first time in 2019. During a site visit to their reforestation project in Madagascar, they had to chance to meet our founder Dr. Ihanta in person in 2019.

But that was then, when one still took airplanes and traveled internationally.

This is now. ‘Now’ did not stop the Seneca Park Zoo to set up a virtual fundraiser: Party Mad(agascar) 2020 (now its 17th year). With many of us working from home, it is actually easier to join a fundraiser via zoom, thousands of miles away in upstate New York, than around the corner.

The zoo invited us to create a five-minute video to present Zahana to the audience. Short videos introduced the different NGOs, followed by live question and answer during ‘Party Mad 2020‘. We hope you enjoy this five-minute video Combining reforestation with locally made improved cook stoves in Madagascar. It is a good 2020 Zahana snapshot, which includes drone footage from the village in October 2019.

PS: We also added a short one-minute video Reforestation with Moringa in Madagascar by Zahana

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Organization Information

Zahana

Location: Antananarivo, Capital - Madagascar
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @zahana
Project Leader:
Markus Faigle
Volunteer
Honolulu, HI United States
$46,012 raised of $55,000 goal
 
357 donations
$8,988 to go
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