Providing a second chance to adolescent girls and reinventing education in Madagascar
In a country where only one adolescent girl out of four finishes middle school, Jocelyne and other young girls express in these pictures their desire to learn and continue their studies, despite the harsh realities of life.
Family portrait of Jocelyne (centre) with her parents and her two nephews, outside their home in Antanambao Andranolava in north-west Madagascar. Jocelyne, 15, is the only girl among her four siblings. This year, she almost had to stop her studies because her parents could no longer afford to pay her school fees.
Jocelyne and her father harvest cashews from trees planted in their courtyard. "Selling these products is not enough to support us, and I am relieved that my grandmother offered to pay for my studies," she says.
At her middle school, Jocelyne receives school supplies from UNICEF as part of the Back to School and Learning programme, which aims to help mainly out-of-school children return to school and remain in it.
Each student at the school received a bag, five exercise books, two pens, a pencil, a square and a compass. "Of course, these supplies won't cover all my needs until the end of the school year, but they do cover a large part of my study costs," says Jocelyne.
As for teachers, they receive self-study books for all subjects. "These tools and the trainings that go with them are necessary because several teachers are not sufficiently qualified", explains Rabearivola Cécillien, the school director.
A teacher with students during the distribution of school supplies. Nearly 290,000 pupils and 8,000 teachers in primary and secondary schools in eight regions have received these kits.
Jocelyne with two of her classmates after classes have ended for the day, at the start of the 2023-2024 school year. "I am going to do everything I can to get my diploma and go on to high school next year", she confides.
Three middle schoolers go home on the back of a cart. In the region of Boeny, only one girl out of five finishes middle school.
Students at the Charles Renel middle school use the computer room at school. Digital education is encouraged among these young people thanks to an internet connection provided through a collaboration with the private sector.
Passionate about biology, Rouweidah, 14, can attest to the usefulness of these online learning tools. "The games on the platform help me understand the lessons easily," she says.
Students at the Antanimora middle school plant tree seeds in the school greenhouse at the start of the school year. UNICEF educates youth on how to take care of the environment since Madagascar is one of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to climate-related hazards.
Sarobidy (on the right), 15, waters saplings on school grounds. "This is our contribution to leave a liveable environment for the next generation. Planting trees is also fun for us," she explains.
In Analanjirofo region, in the north-east of the island, Oxynah (centre) is one of a hundred young people benefiting from vocational training for adolescents. Having left school at the age of 15, she is now training to become a seamstress and hopes to make a career out of it in the future.
Oxynah (second from the left) and three young girls in front of sewing machines provided in the framework of the Let Us Learn programme. This programme aims to keep students in school and prevent non-schooling, and creates opportunities for vulnerable adolescents, especially girls.
Photo portrait of Jocelyne with other students. All these young girls hope to fulfil their dreams one day. Education is an essential means of empowering girls and remains an important vector for change to ensure a better future.
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Note: The “Back to school and learning” and “Let Us Learn” programs were made possible thanks to funding from the national committees for UNICEF (Germany/Findel, United States/Zonta international, Denmark/Hempel Foundation and Japan) .