School Sanitation Initiative
In the heart of the Sahanamba valley in Madagascar's central highlands lays a small village of approximately 25 families, Andonaka. The village is tucked away amidst the Andringitra mountains, 20 km off the major Route Nationale No 7 and reachable only by an under-maintained dirt road. Belonging to the Betsileo tribe, the people in this isolated community are expert rice producers, being known for their striking terraced rice paddies. They subsist almost entirely on agricultural cultivation, being beyond the reach of outside industrial influences. The village offers few means for generating a local economy and most of its inhabitants will not have the opportunity to acquire a personal/family income with little chance of branching outside of the village boundaries in their lifetime.
A small one-room schoolhouse stands at the edge of the village and children are able to attend for free. They are taught the fundamental three 'Rs' in both French and Malagasy, providing them with the basic skills necessary to one day work in the towns or cities, or to take part in the rapidly increasing ecotourism industry that the region boasts. Since the successful replacement of the school’s roof (from thatched straw to aluminum) in 2011, enrollment at the school has increased by 60%, as families from nearby villages are opting to send their children to the renovated schoolroom.
Yet, there is another obstacle to overcome. The schoolroom has no toilet. The children are forced to go outside in their natural surroundings, without privacy or sanitation. Together with Jean Patrick Andrianomena, a local guide and friend to the village, I would like to raise funds to build toilets for the school children to use. The entire project requires just over $1000, including the purchase and transport of supplies to the village and labour. Building toilets would provide children with the privacy and sanitation they deserve while expanding their minds.