Handicap International has been helping rebuild 22 storm-damaged schools in the regions of Analanjirofo and Diana, in northeast Madagascar. During the works, students had to share classrooms still in good repair. Some attended school in the morning, others in the afternoon. According to Stivino, a 12-year-old student: “It’s not very practical to share classrooms with other students because everything the teacher wrote on the board is wiped off the next day.”
It costs less than €2,000 to repair and refurbish a school. Handicap International worked with parent-teacher associations to assess the damage and carry out the works, which included replacing sheet-metal roofs and wooden planks, collecting bamboo to reconstruct walls, and providing new teaching equipment. Handicap International paid them for this work.
The buildings are simple and easy to repair. However, many regions of Madagascar are difficult access, slowing the rebuilding process. According to Blaise Ramamonjisoa, who coordinates the project for HI: “Getting materials to the affected sites was a real problem. The road system isn’t very extensive. Some schools are very isolated. Sometimes you need to get there by small boat and then walk for an hour.”
Four of these schools have now been rebuilt and the remaining buildings should be finished by the end of November. Within a few days, 8,500 students will be able to go back to school as usual.
Handicap International in Madagascar
Handicap International has been present in Madagascar since 1986. The organisation’s team of almost 100 salaried staff members helps combat disabling diseases such as lymphatic filariasis and works in prisons to improve the living conditions of detainees. Handicap International also runs a mother and child health programme to reduce mother and infant mortality, advances the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities by building the capacities of the organisations that represent them, and implements actions to improve access to education for children excluded from the school system.