MADAGASCAR: Salesian Missions donors provide funding to expand elementary school and refurbish outdated classrooms
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions donors have provided funding that has enabled Salesian missionaries in Mahajanga, Madagascar to expand an elementary school and refurbish outdated classrooms. In order to help youth break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness, Salesian missionaries in Madagascar operate elementary, middle and high schools throughout the country.
Salesian programs in Madagascar focus on providing educational opportunities, increasing literacy and laying a foundation for education well past the compulsory education required in the country. Access to education and training in social and life skills encourages youth to find livable wage employment, breaking the cycle of poverty.
Nearly 30 percent of children in Madagascar drop out of primary school while many others live in communities that have no schools at all. The country lacks qualified teachers and many children aren’t able to access even a basic education. Often parents are unable to pay for school or they force their children to work to help support the family. Some youth find the distance from home to school is insurmountable.
For close to 80 percent of the country’s inhabitants who live in rural areas and practice subsistence farming, living conditions have been steadily declining in recent years particularly when it comes to access to transportation, health services, education and markets. Due to of a lack of hygiene and access to safe drinking water coupled with chronic malnutrition, people in Madagascar often suffer from respiratory ailments, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
“Families are often so desperate in Madagascar that they force their children to drop out of school so they can send them to work in dangerous and exploitative jobs just for the money,” explains Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “To address the overwhelming need for both schools and qualified teachers in Madagascar, Salesian missionaries are building primary, middle and high schools across the country. We appreciate our donors who have helped to make this work possible.”
Since 2007, 41 elementary schools, four middle schools and three high schools have opened their doors to students who otherwise would not be able to gain an education. Outdated and dilapidated classrooms have been refurbished providing a better environment for children to learn in.
For youth who face danger when leaving their remote villages, Salesian missionaries keep them safe through a network designed to protect them from kidnapping, exploitation and other dangers. These networks or “villages” provide stable housing with families, teachers and other school personnel—and have succeeded in keeping children safe and school attendance high.
Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Over the past 15 years, Madagascar’s population has faced two political crises that have slowed economic growth, suffered severe climate shocks and withstood the global rise in food prices, according to the World Bank. As a result, 70.7 percent of the people of Madagascar are living in poverty. With 60 percent of the population under the age of 25, improving the lives of people in Madagascar depends on improving opportunities for its youth.
UNCIEF – Madagascar