Ever since a heavy cyclone hit the village Ambalafeno in 2008, the situation as been complicated for students. One part of the school building was destroyed and could not be used anymore. As a consequence, the classrooms in the remaining part of the school building were overcrowded. Unfortunately, some of the students had to drop out of school because of a lack of space. Luckily, the old building is now being renovated, and four more classrooms are being added. Once it is open, the school will provide access to primary and secondary education to about 450 children.
Obviously, the coronavirus also affects Madagascar, but the situation is currently very uncertain. For now, there are not many reported COVID-19 cases in Madagascar, which is probably due to the low number of tests that are being carried out. Life in the countryside continues as normal and therefore the construction work kept going. As Ambalafeno is a tiny village, the people feel safe because it is so remote. Nevertheless, medical care is insufficient. Madagascar’s health system is fragile. If the virus spreads, people would not be able to receive treatment with adequate medical care. We must hope that there will never be a major outbreak.
The community is excited about the project and has already shown an enormous motivation to participate in the construction. They have torn down the damaged school building that could not be renovated anymore. Fourteen thousand bricks were made available for the construction of the new school building. The parents of the students support the project as much as they can as the school in Ambalafeno is the only primary and secondary school of the region and therefore extremely important.
The school building will most likely be completed in a couple of months. The school opening ceremony is planned to take place in October, but this is not certain in light of the coronavirus pandemic. In any case, we hope for the best and we are glad to know that once the crisis has been overcome, children can be welcomed in a new and safe school building!
We will keep you updated about the school’s progress, and the changes regarding Covid-19 in Ambalafeno, Madagascar.