In Madagascar, a young girl strives to shape her country’s future through education
UNICEF enabled more than 3000 adolescents to return to school in southern Madagascar.
Anjarasoa, 17 years old, lives in the Anosy region, in the south of Madagascar. She lost her father in 2020 after a serious illness. "My father's death really affected me," she says with a voice still tinged by sadness. Her father was the guard of the village church in Manatantely. Her mother also works at the church, but most of her time is spent as a farmer.
Anjarasoa is the youngest of five children - two girls and three boys. Even before her father’s death, the family struggled to survive. Now, with her mother as the sole wager-earner, the situation has become critical.
Anjarasoa was a pupil in the 8th grade at the Soanierana secondary school, when in 2019 she had to stop attending classes because her parents could not afford her school fees. After that, she kept busy by helping her mother with household chores, spending her spare time reading.
In Madagascar, adolescents, especially girls, face many challenges that prevent them from reaching their full potential. In the Anosy region, just 12% of adolescents complete the first cycle of secondary school.
In October 2020, Anjarasoa joined a refresher course at her school. Since 2017, a programme supported by UNICEF and funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Findel Foundation has enabled more than 3000 adolescents, including more than 1700 middle school girls, to return to school.
Anjarasoa is supported by her teachers. "She is exceptionally determined and has never missed a class," says one who has always encouraged her. Students use self-study books and work in groups to complete exercises that are then corrected by the teachers. UNICEF also supports the Ministry of Education by training teachers, providing teaching materials and school supplies to students attending the catch-up classes.
Anjarasoa is always accompanied by her friend Brillante (left), who also returned to school thanks to this refresher course.
Entertainment and sports activities are part of school life and contribute to the development of pupils. Anjarasoa and her friends rush to play football as soon as the recess bell rings.
At the primary level, out-of-school children in this region have also benefited from the refresher course thanks to funding from the Hempel Foundation and the Danish Committee for UNICEF and the Kingdom of Norway.
For other teenagers, such as the twins Vanessa and Vania, going to school for the first time was made possible as a result of a literacy programme targeting out-of-school children who are unable to attend refresher courses.
Anjarasoa continues to revise at home and her school results have improved as a result of her efforts.
Anjarasoa wishes to contribute to the development of Madagascar by becoming a model citizen through education.
"I want to become a midwife because I like helping others," she says hopefully.