MKLF believes in and is committed to helping Malagasy communities make a difference; by investing in their education we can help them to better understand and preserve their natural environment. That’s why the Foundation is now building a new school in Antafiabe village on the edge of the Ankarafa Forest, Sahamalaza National Park, in northwest Madagascar, where the current and future generations of this remote community will have the opportunity to learn in an appropriate environment.
Through work carried out by the AEECL, the villagers of Antafiabe are already dedicated to environmental protection and are active in reforestation projects, the creation of firebreaks in the surrounding areas and hosting the Lemur Festival. The adult community supports education and ensures that their children are sent to school. What they need however, is an improved environment for the children to learn in. Antafiabe has a fifty-year-old school building which is in very poor condition and nowhere near large enough to accommodate the 180 pupils and 7 teachers. During the rainy season classes are often cancelled since the building leaks, and even when classes are taking place there are not enough space, tables and chairs for all the pupils.
The new school building is being constructed with strong weather resistant materials and will consist of two 49m2 classrooms each equipped with a blackboard, cupboard, teacher’s desk and chair, and there will also be a separate toilet block. The school will accommodate pupils at the primary school stage and about 60 children will be taught in the new building. The enhanced teaching and learning experience will benefit both children and teachers, and as the community recognizes the benefits offered to them through the MKLF it will encourage them to better protect their natural environment.
Apart from providing a new school building to the community, MKLF will also be setting up a school canteen that will offer food to the children free of charge. Additionally the Foundation intends to initiate a feeding program to cover the difficult period between November-April which is a hunger gap for the majority of families.
Going to school however, is not just the presence of a building, there is a need for books and stationery, and, of course, teachers. So the project will not just stop when the building finishes, it will only be the beginning.
Our aim and aspiration is to create an environment which not only provides an education to the children of the community but inspires them to find ways of protecting and helping their homeland which is also home to so many diverse and endemic species.
We hope that you too will share our aspiration of seeing these children acquire the education they deserve; they too have dreams which, unfortunately for them, often seem out of reach, but with a little help from us all, these dreams can be their reality.