2011: first Zahana students passed the CEPE
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
Secondary school uniforms
Getting ready for the highschool exam in town
Getting ready for highschool exam in the big town