Lalao Marie-Angèle, 22, lives in Masindray, a rural area 15 kilometers away from the main city, Manazary in Madagascar.
In 2013, she opened her village’s first community school in an old house with a brick floor that was previously used as an office for the administration of the village.
Two classrooms opened and 65 children were able to attend school and learn. Lalao was the only teacher and taught both classes.
The following year, with the help of the parents’ association, Lalao opened a third classroom and a second teacher joined her.
A few months later, a delegation from the ministry of Education came to visit the area and saw the condition of the school. The strong motivation of Lalao and the parents convinced the officials to finance the construction of a new school in her village. In the community, the new two-room school opened its doors in the 2015-2016 school year. It had brand new desks, blackboards, toilets and even a wheelchair ramp. The two new classrooms can welcome up to 86 students each.
Lalao Marie-Angèle is now the school director and secretary of the school management board of the local administration.
She also teaches pre-school. Last September, the school received 54 new textbooks thanks to a GPE-funded program and school kits were distributed to the 172 children enrolled there for the 2016-2017 school year.
The GPE grant to Madagascar supports not just better facilities and equipment, but also training for teachers so as to improve learning, improving community participation and accountability, and enhancing management capacity throughout the education system.
Lalao’s determination and resourcefulness are remarkable and we applaud her efforts. Many women like her stand up for education around the world as they understand the transformative power of education for their communities and the future of their children. We congratulate them.