Four of us worked in a team on the KOLO EPP Project t at EPP Ambohipo, Antananarivo. The project is designed to educate and equip pupils with basic knowledge about Sanitation and Health, Environment, Character Building, and English.
It was well-organized and the students were very diligent. Most of them never missed a class. Since we learned that most young students like drawing, we decided to use visual aids such as pictures, videos, PowerPoint slides, to help them understand the lessons.
For pupils who don't have a television at home, they were not aware of the issues related to the lessons. However, despite the economic condition and low level of knowledge and ability to comprehend lessons, their infectious passion and dedication to learning were driving us forward.
Giving lessons is important, yet we learned that building positive relationships with students has helped us find effective ways to help struggling learners. Listening is one great lesson that has taught us about making a meaningful connection with students. After several meetings, some of them came to us and talked about anything. " (Lysharenamalala Makamanana / KOLO EPP Project / March-April 2016)
The first day of teaching was a great challenge for me as I mingled with the public primary school (EPP) students at 67Ha Nord. I had 50 pupils staring at me, waiting for me to teach them. When I looked into their eyes, I saw curiosity, trustfulness and a bottomless well of expectation. In essence, keeping their attention and interest alive was part of the challenge.
In particular, students showed great enthusiasm for English, one of the programs besides Sanitation and Health, Character Building and Environment. One time, after class was over, a student stayed late to ask for more English lessons.
I also noticed that the students enjoyed collaborating with others during the small group activities, especially when they had to discuss environmental problems that our world is facing, or how to be responsible, kind and generous during the character-building session. I was in awe of the solution and initiative that these children came up with. It is just mind-blowing to discover how Malagasy children can think innovatively and care for their community and country at an early age. I'm very grateful for this wonderful opportunity to teach and learn. (Mitantsoa Bellah / KOLO EPP Project / February-April 2016)
The first time I heard about this 16-hour Street Project, I thought this was a really silly idea because even college students rarely can accomplish anything concrete in just two weeks. Besides, these street children are hungry, all they want is food and money. ON top of that, I thought that even if we ever taught them, they would not be able to put the lesson into practice without the positive support of the environment around them.
Before participating in Street Project, I thought these kids were pickpockets, unruly and reckless children. Yet, this experience has transformed me. I was wrong. These kids surprised me as soon as I met them. I witnessed how these kids developed an increased curiosity and interest in every session. Each time I learned more about them and vice versa. I became attached to them. They asked us to extend our courses because they enjoyed learning. These kids were extremely motivated, they so wanted to learn. Unfortunately, poverty limits their options.
Through this project, I have given something important for my country, even only a small thing. Not only giving, but I have also received more than I expected. I have contributed to the betterment of Madagascar, for education is the key to a rising economy. Now I see the world differently. I want to do something and make more changes. (Miora Andoniaina Andriambahoaka / SANTATRA Street Project, March 2016)
Although my studies are devoted to the field of development, none of the research I have done so far has allowed me to integrate as much into the underprivileged environment like this Street Project.
Each session with the children made me realize the sad reality of their situation and the obstacles they encounter. When one morning a big brother decides that one of the children can no longer attend lessons, under the pretext of a quarrel, we realize that we are in a completely different sphere or the mentality of the most the elderly may well be a brake on literacy.
Ten hours is very little to instill the basics of knowledge in children. These children may not remember much of what they have been taught tomorrow, even with the best of methods. We then have the hope that this project is not their last opportunity to receive an education.
After these 10 hours, the children were not the only ones to learn. I have never had to manage so many responsibilities. They arrived every morning, hopeful that we would teach them new things and maybe even change their lives. When you take the time to chat with each of them, you realize that few of them have ambition. We realize then that it is very easy to sympathize but that it is not enough. What is needed is action to effectively influence change and allow these children to hope for a better future.
I do not dream that these children will one day be richer, what I hope is that what they have learned in such a short time will help them to face a lifetime. (Diana Ranja Ranarivony / SANTATRA Street Project, October 2015)
During the first session of the Vaky Boky ( Reading Program), I got to know my students. Most of them attend secondary school (CEG) in Analamahitsy. I could see that even though they are all the same age, they have different reading levels in French, one of the official languages in Madagascar. I encouraged them to read newspapers, illustrated books or even to watch cartoons on TV, the main thing being to have fun by learning and discovering for yourself.
In Madagascar, pupils who attend public schools have more difficulties with the French language than those who go to private schools. If public primary/secondary schools had libraries or reading programs in the curriculum, this would have been different for these young and curious minds. I believe that familiarizing a child with reading from an early age has a huge influence on the development of their imagination and knowledge. I hope that this Vaky Boky program will cultivate a love of reading in students. ( Josie / KOLO EPP Project - Vaky Boky Program, August 2015)
This project has opened my eyes to children's education and life in Madagascar. I am sad to think about the fact that these children do not have the opportunities I had when I was a child. They do not go to school because they have to help their parents. Through this experience, I had the opportunity to do something good for my country.
Our teaching station was located at Ambohijatovo, not too far from the tunnel. In our first session, we spent about an hour talking with the parents, ask their permission so their children could study with us. Finally, we had around ten children from five to twelve years old who came to our teaching sessions.
One of the best moments for me was during the sanitation lesson. When I washed the hands, faces, and feet of the children, I could see and feel their happiness. And also the day when we took the children to the zoo is very memorable. During this time, it was so amazing to see the smiles on their faces.
I have a dream that one day every Malagasy child can go to school and enjoy their childhood. ( Cécilia / SANTATRA Street Project, July 2015 )
This Street Project was my first experience as a volunteer. I was excited about teaching these out-of-school children because I've been wanting to contribute concretely in the field of development. When I first met the children I was very shocked to witness how they live with garbage around them, wear dirty clothes and sleep in very poor conditions.
I was enthusiastic but when we arrived in our first session, I realized that this was not going to be easy. We had to approach and motivate them to come and learn with us, to get permission from the parents, and so on. There was one time when I felt very sad to find how these kids do not know that they can dream big. When asked what they wanted to become when they grow up, it seemed to me that they only know the job that their parents do, such as a clothes washer, maid, or bus driver. Some of them I found very smart but they don't have the opportunity to study.
This project made me realize how hard the lives of children who live and work on the streets could be. I want to help them, as far as I can, by sharing them some knowledge and skills they can use in their life, as well as shaping their characters so that they can be good citizens. I believe that these children can develop our poor country Madagascar if they have the opportunity to study. Personally, this project has taught me to be more responsible and mature. I have discovered the joy of sharing and giving. " (Faniry / SANTATRA Street Project, July 2015)
"Poor education is a sign of poverty in a country. I joined TFM as a Zoky because I want to share what I have, knowledge, skills, and talents with my younger Malagasy brothers and sisters whom we call Zandry. When I spoke with them, they realized that they need motivation, not only to learn things in school but also to be important and to have skills and future goals from a young age. I urge Malagasy young adults to take this responsibility to mentor our younger fellows. Who knows they will be the ones who lead our country out of deep poverty." ( Maharavo Rabemananjara / VAKANA CEG Project / December - March 2020
Students in public high schools have energy and passion. These are great elements to lead and guide them. No matter if you are a parent, a teacher, or an organization, you should contribute to building our young people, as they are the future of this beloved country. One of the reasons I became a Zoky at TFM is to bridge the generation gaps. Education is the tool to do this. In this project, our way of educating is different from what the students receive in their daily studies. I find that we need to bring education which is relevant to today's generation. TFM has values that are in line with the relevances which I believe will help our young people. I don't just teach, I lead. (ANDRIATSIFERANA Harifetra | Jary High School Project / December 2019 - March 2020)
When you're committed to what you're doing, you can achieve anything. Teaching to me requires serious preparation and creativity. When we create such interest, the Zandry more willingly immerse themselves in the learning process. The performance and opportunity gap between private and public schools is something we all should be concerned about. We need more people to generously give their skills and time to solve this educational inequality. Don't be afraid, the more you give, the more you receive. Overall, it's about the future of our country. (Ulrich /KOLO EPP Project / January - April 2019)