A community school for all (children) in Fiarenana

by Zahana
Inside the classroom in Zahana
Inside the classroom in Zahana's school

A big Thank You to all of our donors who supported our school in Fiarenana over the years!

Supporting an ongoing school is vital for us to be able to pay the teachers and gardeners and buy school supplies. It takes somebody like you to see the value in ongoing support so children can go to school every day. You make it  possible. We could not do it without you! 

In the age of text messages (SMS) we can communicate with our Zahana contacts and our teachers in the villages on a regular basis at low cost. The minimalist report from December 15, 2011 for November reads as follows: [text in brackets is added to provide context for the readers]


  • 48 students: 22 boys, 26 girls aged from 4 to 13 [attended school in November]
  • 2 levels of teaching: level 0 (beginner), level 1
  • Parents monthly meeting: 1st Saturday
  • School garden: vegetables [are being planted by the students]
  • Nursery: 1,199 baby trees (eucalyptus, papaya, bibasse, mango) ready to be planted, seeds of moringa olifera [ready to be planted again by our master gardener]

Fiadanana [our first village]:

  • 90 students [currently attend school]
  • School garden: vegetables [are being planted by the students]
  • [School] Poultry project: 6 hens, roosters [this is a hands-on income or protein generating project for the students as part of our microcredit efforts]
  • 106 baby trees and flowers planted around the school
  • Environment: asking people to collect plastic bags spread in village
  • Nursery: lot of baby trees [grown by our second gardener]

[Both] gardeners were told to keep all baby trees for Zahana [planting 15,000 trees] project.

- End text/SMS -

Did you know you can make donations to any our Zahana projects with GlobalGiving as gifts to friends and loved ones this holiday season? This gift in honor of someone might relieve you of the agonizing thought: what could I give her or him? (and help Zahana at the same time).

A gift in honor of somebody is easy: With a few clicks you can create a personalized greeting card via our project pages on GlobalGiving. Just click on the third giving option “gift or in honor of” right under the big orange “donate” button on any of our 4 project pages. We recently added the project: Planting 15,000 trees in Madagascar (#9470), which is eligible as well.

You can chose if GlobalGiving will send the gift recipient an email, print-at-home, or physical tribute card. For  details about the ‘tribute card challenge’* please visit our website. And even better the challenge lasts until the last day of the 2011 tax year: December 31.

Thank you for your support.

Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus

*GlobalGiving is awarding funds to the projects that are able to get the most donations made in honor or in memory of someone between November 23, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Prizes between $500 and $1,500 will be awarded to the projects with the most number of donations made in honor of someone.

visual aid
visual aid


All they need to get ready for secondary school
All they need to get ready for secondary school

We would like to share more photos with you. In a previous report we told you that seven students had successfully obtained the much desired CEPE, the primary school certificate (see our website). With the help of Zahana, three of the students from one family are able to attend the secondary school in Bevato, a small town about a 2 hours walk from their village.

To be ready for secondary school requires school uniforms, equipment (pencils, paper, etc) and bags, which Zahana bought for the students. Filled with pride and wonder about these amazing goodies you can see it being diligently inspected by the future students and their mother in the pictures. Since these pictures were taken, school has started. The students now live far from home with a host family, but they are doing very well in their new secondary school, making everybody in their community proud by being the first ones to ever attend a secondary school.

Ihanta, Jeannette and Markus

Inspecting their new things
Inspecting their new things
Trying on the new secondary school uniforms
Trying on the new secondary school uniforms
Proud owner of their first backpack
Proud owner of their first backpack
Ready for scondary school
Ready for scondary school


Our seven students
Our seven students

We just got this picture of all seven students from Fiadanana that got award the CEPE (Certificat d'etudes primaires élémentaires or Certificate of Primary Studies). Our wonderful teachers trainer, whos work made this possible as well is to the left. So without further ado we wanted to add this picture to the last project report.


The frist school certificate ever in the village
The frist school certificate ever in the village

“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).

Celebrating the CEPE (school certificate)
Celebrating the CEPE (school certificate)

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



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Organization Information


Location: Antananarivo, Capital - Madagascar
Website: http:/​/​zahana.org
Project Leader:
Markus Faigle
Honolulu, HI United States

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