Madaworks in Madagascar Part 12: We’re back from Madagascar!
MADAWORKS IS BACK FROM MADAGASCAR:
AN UPDATE ON OUR STUDENTS, NEW APPLICATIONS, WOMEN’S ECONOMIC GROWTH AND A NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH PSI MADAGASCAR!
After a very successful trip to Madagascar we are pleased to report that our new students, Paquerette Ravosolo and Sarah Louise Avotriniaina (pictured above) are doing really well in their first year of high school. Part of what the Madaworks scholarship covers is the purchase of a solar light and panel so they can do their homework, as most of these rural areas have no electricity. Necessities such as school fees, uniforms, supplies, books, food & rent are just some of the expenses our funding covers. Paquerette wants to become a judge one day, and Sarah – who is second in her class – wants to study to become a midwife. Bravo girls and keep up the great work and thanks to our donors Joe and Clare LoCicero for helping us to get these two girls off to a great start!
We also visited Julie Rakotozafy, Madaworks’ first graduate, while she was home in her village of Sahavondronina for a weekend visit. She has matured into a confident and poised young woman who is enjoying University studies in Fianarantsoa. We are so proud of her accomplishments and her success! She received a small grant to begin her studies and her mother is helping her to pay for the expenses. Her mother works part-time at Centre ValBio and she is also working in a small restaurant that her sister owns. This restaurant is two and a half days away in distance, but she makes the journey, determined to help her daughter succeed.
In welcoming new applicants, pictured above, for the Madaworks Scholarship program there was much excitement in the air. Working with 5 rural middle schools we distributed this year’s scholarship applications to Ambalakindresy, Androy, Kelilalina, Kianjanomby and Ranomafana. Application numbers have increased to 125 from 85 last year, which is a trend we hope continues. While we will be selecting two new girls again this September, next year we hope to double that number. While handing out the applications, we were constantly asked if we could support more girls…I had to tell them that I hope to raise enough funds in the near future to add more girls.
Santatranirina Razanakolona, our indispensible coordinator based at Centre ValBio, created a newsletter to post in all the schools providing more information about our program (pictured above with Paquerette). The interest in our program continues to grow, thanks in a large part to our team on the ground to whom I am greatly indebted.
Fantastic news regarding the women’s sustainable economic development: it’s growing! Part of my mission on this trip was to collect data to analyze income and expenses to calibrate the growth of the weaving collectives and see what impact Madaworks is having on their development.
For Famiova, the silk and cotton weaving cooperative, their production increased from 464 items in 2014 to 747 items in 2016. The revenue generated from the sales increased from $130 in 2014 to a remarkable $3,338 in 2016. They carried out expansion renovations on their building which cost them approximately $1,600, but even with that expense they are still earning more money than before.
Maeva, the basket makers, also had increase in production and sales of their handmade baskets. They increased production from 94 items earning $189 in 2014, to 150 items earning $253 by mid-2017.
The support from Madaworks, as well as increased tourism in the region, is contributing to sustained economic development for these women’s cooperatives. We are very happy with these results!
We are proud to announce collaboration with PSI Madagascar! Population Services International (PSI) is a global nonprofit organization focused on the encouragement of healthy behavior and affordability of health products. Among other things, they work with middle school and high school students to provide information and peer counseling on reproductive health and family planning.
I met Dr. Patricia Norolalao, the former director of PSI Madagascar/ Fianarantsoa, at the Women Deliver Conference last spring. After the conference, she contacted me to pursue a possible partnership. Finally I had the chance to meet up with her and the new director of the Fianarantsoa office, Faniry Hossnaly. Our coordinator, Santatra, helped to organize the first workshop they will do with Madaworks and Centre ValBio at the Ranomafana middle school on May 18th, 2017. This is important because we all need to work together to keep girls healthy and in school. We look forward to expanding the workshops to all the schools we work with and a continued productive collaboration.
I continue to marvel at the determination and resiliency of the Malagasy people. They soldier on in the face of many challenges. We are trying to create a path to help them on their way. With immense gratitude, Madaworks would like to thank Centre ValBio and MICET who have given their support in countless ways. Our partnership with them continues to grow enabling more rural girls and women in Madagascar to thrive. Without the inspiration of Dr. Patricia Wright, Madaworks would not have been created. Thanks so much Pat, Micet and Centre ValBio!