Gemfields Foundation re-building a second primary school in Madagascar
After our successful endeavour last year, renovating and re-opening a primary school in rural Madagascar, we are delighted to announce that we have again partnered with REXMA NGO on a similar project: the Ecole la Bénédiction in the Analamanga region.
Funding educational infrastructure in Africa is a low-cost way to achieve rapid social impact and transform local communities. This project has been generously joint funded by a private collector and Phillips, with proceeds raised at its ‘Treasures from Zambia’ auction, at which some of the world’s most exceptional emeralds, from the private collector, were offered to bidders.
As with the previous school, the work will be carried out in phases, the priority being to rebuild the primary school, kitchen, sanitary facilities and water cistern, all of which are out of date and have been deemed unfit for purpose by the local Ministry of Education. With a steadily increasing enrolment – from 30 pupils at the time of opening in 2011 to 194 in 2021 – the Ecole la Bénédiction has made a great contribution to education in the rural community of Ankadinandriana, providing children from low-income homes with an education, clean water and a hot meal every day. Pupils walk up to 7km to attend their classes. By upgrading the school’s facilities, we will enable this excellent school – which achieved a 100% success rate in its most recent set of exams – to go even further in its scope and absorb another cycle of growth.
The school has been closed and work has commenced, with the goal of having new classrooms up and running in time for the 2022-23 school year. The local community are fully engaged with the project, many actively volunteering to help with the demolition of the old buildings to make way for new ones and preparing land for the new foundations and to grow crops for the kitchen. Locals are also (quite literally) hands-on in efforts to help build a secondary school on the same site, which will provide opportunities for many more students.
If all goes to plan, we will have working classrooms in time for the start of the school year and authorisation to open a Lycée la Bénédiction, with a primary, junior high and high school all in one site.