Madagascar - School desks for rural schoolchildren

07 September 2017

(ANS - Bemaneviky) - 16% of the world's population cannot read or write. The record holder of child illiteracy lies with Sub-Saharan Africa with its 32 million illiterate children. For many years, the Salesians of Don Bosco have been making their contribution towards eliminating this sad record. To celebrate World Literacy Day, Don Bosco Missions of Turin have begun a campaign to supply new desks to some of the elementary schools Monsignor Rosario Vella, Salesian Bishop in Madagascar, has established. Children from the rural villages are involved, as are students, former street children, from the Notre Dame de Clairvaux center, who will manufacture them in their carpentry workshops.

The mission of Bemaneviky was the first Salesian mission in Madagascar. Located in the northern area of the island, in the heart of the brousse, tropical Africa,  the mission stands in a truly rugged area whose roads become impenetrable during the rainy season. Cultural backwardness and environmental factors also make life extremely difficult, but here, in the region of the river Sambirano, our missionaries, despite the scarcity of resources, have managed to efficiently offer pastoral and catechetical activities, a health clinic and a pharmacy, and keeping the mission and the parish going with enthusiasm and ingenuity.

Archbishop Rosario Vella, the Diocese's Salesian bishop, built and started as many as nine schools in less than ten years. They are poor structures, but they mean a lot to all the children, about two thousand, who attend them. The kindergarten and elementary schools represent, indeed, the first step of a path that will bring the children to attend middle school and then, who knows, also the Saint-Antoine of Bemaneviky secondary school and even university.

The Salesians of Don Bosco have sent a request for help to the Don Bosco Missions of Turin because they need more desks: more than half of the children do not have one for their use. And, most of those in class, were handmade by the children's parents, and are in poor condition. That is why Bemaneviky's missionaries want to involve the children attending the Salesian Vocational School of Notre Dame de Clairvaux, and their carpentry department, in the construction of 400 double desks. Not only would this provide a suitable learning environment in brousse schools, but also help the marginalized children, almost all former street children, who attend the vocational school near the capital Antananarivo.

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ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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