DEIS Madagascar update from our Friends Marie & Bernard Neary

Our Friends Marie and Bernard Neary have sent us an update on the work of DEIS Madagascar:

Two new classrooms have been built in the village of Ambohibao, Antananarivo, in partnership with a local NGO, Madagascar Development Fund and the local community, who supplied sand and labour.

The new classrooms at Ambohibao Primary School, Antananarivo, Madagascar, entirely funded by DEIS [Development Education Ireland Sharing] Madagascar Ltd and constructed by a local NGO, MDF, were inaugurated on Friday 20th May 2016 in the presence of both local Members of Parliament (the National Assembly), the local representative of the Ministry of National Education (Chef CISCO) representing the Minister, the representative of the Regional Governor (Chef de Region) teachers of Ambohibao Primary School and colleagues, Village Head and elders,  and a large crowd of excited parents and school children.

On an unusually bitterly cold day, the Village Head opened the speeches by expressing his heartfelt appreciation to DEIS Madagascar for financing two new classrooms. The Head Teacher said that today’s inauguration was a big event.  The school had been completely transformed and as a result the pupils were happy and she and her colleagues encouraged and motivated.  She gave the history of the school from its creation in 1979, and said conditions now had never been better.  She said how grateful she and the teaching staff were to “our family overseas” (i.e. DEIS Madagascar) for its generous support for education in Madagascar.  She was confident the improved conditions would be reflected in future, improved pass rates in the annual Certificate of Primary Education exams.

The Mayor of Talatavolonondry, who initiated this project, said he was proud to see the beautiful new school, and added his thanks to DEIS Madagascar for making the children’s dreams come true. Between speeches all present were entertained by songs and dances of welcome from local folk groups, one of which included the Mayor of Ambohitrabibi, an accomplished accordion player.

Marie Neary thanked the local population for their successful partnership with DEIS Madagascar and MDF. DEIS Madagascar recognised the importance of education.

The Member of the National Assembly welcomed all the visitors, stating that development was the only way to defeat extreme poverty in Madagascar he said. Ambohibao was well on the way – with access to clean water and now a beautiful new school.  He thanked DEIS Madagascar and all those who had contributed to the successful completion of this important project.  He repeated his thanks in English, and said he spoke not only on behalf of Ambohibao, the Commune of Talatavolonondry but the whole of Madagascar in expressing his appreciation for the generosity and support of DEIS Madagascar and supporters.

The speeches over,  Bernard Neary cut a ribbon across the entrance to one of the new classrooms,  and with the help of the local MP uncovered commemorative plaques in English and Malagasy affixed to the school wall.

After visiting the new and renovated buildings and a photographic display of conditions at the school before the project began, the visitors were invited to a meal of rice and meat in one of the new classrooms – prepared in their honour by the villagers.