Hot on the heels of the opening of Gemfields Foundation’s first primary school project last year, we are thrilled to announce that work has commenced on re-building the Ecole la Bénédiction in the Analamanga region, also in rural Madagascar.
The project, generously supported by Phillips auction house and a private collector, will ensure that the school will continue to bring lasting social impact to the area – ensuring that children from low-income homes receive not only an excellent education, but also clean water and a hot midday meal.
Ecole la Bénédiction has seen a steady increase to its enrolment from just 30 students when it opened in 2011 to 194 in 2021, and saw students achieve a 100% success rate in the most recent set of exams, a testament to its potential to contribute positively to education in this rural community. However, the Ministry of Education has decreed that the school’s facilities are in need of an upgrade in order for it to remain open to pupils.
Thanks to a generous donation from a private collector and Phillips – who supported the project through Phillips ‘Treasures from Zambia’ auction of an exceptional private collection of emeralds – the funding is now in place for the renovation to bring the school up to standard. The local community has also enthusiastically supported the project – helping with the demolition of the existing school and preparing the land for the new foundations. The first phase of work will involve rebuilding the primary school, kitchen, sanitary facilities and water cistern.
The goal is for classrooms to be reopened in time for the 2022-23 school year with authorisation for a new Lycée, with a primary, junior high and high school all in one site, to deliver the best education possible to local students of all ages.