Mahatsara School: Madagascar

mahatsara-matrix

Lying around 5 hours drive (200 km) north east of Antananarivo, is village of Mahatsara.  The school there founded by Bina Andriamanjato is supported also by  group of Canadian students and ex students who joined up their project with Rose Charities Canada

The Mahatsara School provides Quality Education to over 100 students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend school.  In 2012 the grade 5 students won top place in the region.  In addition all 27 grade 9 students passed the difficult National High School Entrance Exam, to receive their Junior Dipolmas. This is very important as it is the gateway to higher education in Madagascar.

The kids at Mahatsara form are a  happy and energetic congregation  ranging from young to mid teens.

There is a school community garden project cultivated by parents, students and other community members. There is a lunch nutrition program to ensure each child receives at least one healthy meal per day, and a Mahatsara Parents Association which is a real driving force behind the school.

The school runs a community library; books are very expensive in Madagascar and most have been donated by international volunteers.  Sports programs are also organized: in 2011 the basketball team made it to the regional finals.  The school has taken students on several field trips in the surrounding area. Among the most significant field trips has been a trip to the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo through which older students at the school had the opportunity to see the capital and tour the University. For most students, this was their first trip to Antananarivo.

Health education: Mahatsara organizes community health education sessions at the request of community members. These sessions may include dental hygiene, sex education, nutritional training and home safety (ie the hazards of cooking on a fire indoors)

Finally a Mahatsara store is organized, selling school supplies and other small items to community members who can afford them. All proceeds are put back into the project.

 

Neonatal Resusciation Training Course: Haiti. March 2013. Linda and Andew Warner write…

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.



Linda-Hard to believe I am back in Port-au-Prince for the fourth time since the big earthquake in January of 2010. I am grateful to be part of a Rose Charities sustainable project to facilitate a neonatal resuscitation course, as previously requested by many health care professionals in Haiti. On my trip last year I saw firsthand the need for neonatal support, as 5 babies died on my unit in a week at the hospital. Even though the care there was excellent, financial resources are limited, and the staff can benefit from supportive education, equipment and facilitation of resources. Rose Charities is building upon several other trips of surveying Haitian doctors and nurses, networking and teaching certification classes to now offer another day of certifying several trainers, and two full days of teaching a standardized neonatal resuscitation course to approximately 70 nurses and doctors from various hospitals in Haiti to improve care for infants and neonates in Haiti.  I am thrilled to have my 15 year old son Andrew with me filming a documentary about this project, and he is very excited to be here (it is great he speaks French!).  My heart was warm as we flew in today, and I was pleased to see that the airport has been completely renovated since I was here last April, further evidence that positive change is possible and it is real.

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Andrew – Today was “preparation day” for the big week ahead. I have to say it feels weird staying in an almost resort-looking type of place, when there’s so much else outside these gates that I am blind to. I was expecting to arrive at a dirt airport, then drive over to some small house to sleep on the floors. As  per usual in life, nothing is as expected. First of all the airport had a baggage system similar to ours with air-conditioned rooms and even a duty-free store, and considering I was expecting rubble, this was a huge difference. My mom said there have been huge renovations since she was here last, which seems like a good thing. Living in this… Resort/Hotel/Lodge… When there is so much poverty outside, feels wrong. I would feel so much better if I wasn’t so secluded from everyone, I wish I could live with the people rather than safely here. I have to say today was very relaxing though, it gave me a chance to rest from travel before the interviews ahead. I am so relieved to finally be able to stay in this beautiful country of Haiti, however even here, I am still facing first world problems and sometimes don’t realize that I am making them. Things like ” no wifi ” and ” uncharged electronics” really make me feel bad when I see people who have hardly anything living in tiny tents and sheds. I am excited for the week ahead and can’t wait to see and explore more of this amazing country.

Wed, March 13, 2013

Linda-the teaching has begun and we are bursting at the seams, having had to turn away many doctors and nurses from this neonatal resuscitation course. The first day was “training the trainers”,  11 doctors and nurses who are assisting with two full days of teaching fresh students! This was a crazy day…on a break we were getting a tour of the hospital and happened upon a 27 week old premie that was blue and in severe distress. Our team sprang  into action and got that baby’s little heart beating again!  Sadly, the baby will not likely make it as there are many other complications, but it was a good team effort, and reminder of what is possible with adequate education and equipment.
Today was a full day of teaching doctors and nurses the NRP course, and we put to good use the trainers we taught on the first day.  The students are so keen and appreciative of the course it is a joy to facilitate!  Andrew and Michael interviewed the head of Pediatrics along with a nurse and 2 pediatric residents, who they had very distinct and insightful observations about health care in Haiti and how best to support it (stay tuned!).
Tonight I ate giraumon (pumpkin) soup, a Haitian specialty dish, and it was delicious! Although I am not a beer fan, I am loving the Haitian beer Prestige in the heat after a long day! My sister and nephew tried to order the Haitian delicacy of cabrite, or goat, but alas they were out🙂.  We also met up with Einstein Albert, who brought his beautiful Haitian bowls to sell. My new friends Doctors Marie-Josee and Genevieve from Montreal have been amazing instructors of the NRP course, and on top of keeping me in stitches have improved my French immensely!

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Andrew– this week was great. Tuesday, started us off filming at Dr. Lerebours’ office at Hopital Communaute Haitienne, where my mother worked right after the earthquake. Had a great interview with her and it was awesome to see her perspective. She also brought in a family with a Down’s syndrome child for me to interview. After about an hour we went with Jackie LeBrom on a tour around the city. Having lived in Haiti for around 15 years as a tour guide, she really knows her stuff. It was really awesome to see how much history that the country has, and yet very few realize it or even appreciate it. Haiti really is more beautiful than people realize. It is also a country with so any opposites, like poverty and beauty, people in desperation and people with hope. The sights, smells and sounds are also very intense and contradictory, like the smell of delicious food at the same time as rotting garbage piled high on the sidewalk. I kept thinking there was a fire outside every day until I realized it was the coal they cook with as so many of them do not have ovens, let alone homes. I watched a group burn tires as an act of protest. I thought that in a country with a culture so unique to the rest, even the protesters were different from any I have ever heard of. I had a good interview later with Jackie, especially with her outside perspectives.
     The next day we spent filming RoseCharities’ neonatal resuscitation program interviewing students and doctors all around. It was an experience unlike any other to be able to feel progress almost as if it were tangible, mainly because the impact is so lasting, and the students in theclass were so appreciative. I am also so thankful for our healthcare here in Canada. I have to say it is crazy to be able to watch this develop as we are educating future pediatricians and doctors to actually be able to save babies’ lives when it wasn’t always possible before.
     Now we are in Wahoo Bay, enjoying the ocean’s wind and the marvellous sunset, here is truly one of the places where Haitian beauty is easily seen.
Sincerely,
     -Andrew Warner

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Linda-well, we took the weekend off to thoroughly enjoy the beauty of Haiti and the turquoise sea at Wahoo Bay! Beautiful gardens, fresh seafood, friendly people, Haitian music and lots of time to relax! Unfortunately, Andrew had gastro for half of the weekend, but my little filmmaker has been a real trooper! Wahoo Bay is about an hour from Port-au-Prince, and the resort is part of a rebranding program for emphasizing the positive facets of Haiti, for which there are many. As we have traveled through the streets, I am thrilled to see so much improvement and development since I was here following the earthquake three years ago! Many foreign countries have been frustrated with not seeing immediate change in response to a lot of donations, but in a country with little infrastructure one needs to have patience, and more importantly, faith. The people here have such a desire to participate in change, but it takes time, money, education, facilitation of skills and equipment, and above all, it is important to ask the Haitians themselves their priorities and needs, instead of a multitude of well meaning NGOs storming in with contradictory ideas and assumptions. It’s all about empowerment. The philosophy with Rose Charities has been focused on “a hand up, not a hand out” and “teaching a man to fish”, based on a needs assessment survey to the Haitians themselves, and that is why I am proud to be part of this project.
 
      

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013-Lespwa

Linda-these are the faces, the hearts that haunt my soul…the reason I come back to Haiti…again, and again, and again, and again. Since visiting the beauty of the sea on the weekend, we have traveled to film at several hospitals in Port-au-Prince. We interviewed nurses, pediatricians and medical directors, along with families whose children have conditions that are usually treatable, fixable, or preventable in Canada. We wanted to assess the greatest needs for health care according to the people of Haiti, and to gain insight as to how we can best support that as a country, as a charity organization, and as fortunate human beings that are blessed to have just been born in a different place.
As much as my friends back home have nicknamed me “the Icewoman” for rarely shedding a tear back home, I cannot say the same is true in Haiti. It broke my heart to see children with hydrocephalus (swelling on the brain) that could have been easily prevented with access to a neurosurgeon, to see babies with disease related to malnutrition simply because they were starving, children with typhoid or other vaccine preventable diseases, and babies that didn’t survive simply because the doctors and nurses who are keen to learn do not have the training or the equipment to save these lives. The little baby I hold in the photo above has spina bifida, and his surgery was delayed for over a month because Haiti has no pediatric neurosurgeons. The worried mom was overjoyed when I told her my beautiful 17 year old niece Katie also has spina bifida, and has a wonderful life, playing sports and doing well at school with a gazillion friends, and that she even just got her driver’s license with an adapted car! Our discussion gave this mom hope, which in Creole is “lespwa”, and that is the basis of survival for this nation.

Voset School Uganda: big heart, happy kids, but great needs..

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Around 2 hours drive away from Kampala along a rutted non paved road near the village of Mukono, Uganda, lies the Volset School. The school gives education to some 160 kids, most of them from very deprived backgrounds.   The school does great work and the kids are happy, but is still very poor and is in need of many resources.  Nevertheless it does manage to get some assistance, including through Rose Charities and that way manages to keep going .

The shool identifies its most pressing needs as  1) sponsorship for students, 2) refurbishment and construction of more teaching space, 3) establishing a more secure water supply (probably a bore-hole),  finding one or two used donated computers to teach computer skills.

Despite hardships,  Directors Lydia Nansukusa, and Festus Bazira never give up hope.  Festus explained his vision for the school to me. These are our ‘Diplomats of the Future’ he said of his kids..

 

RoseJet Fund powers up K2K. Sri Lanka

As the 2012 school year enters its final months, it’s time for Rose Charities Sri Lanka to begin implementing its K2K (Kid to Kid) or JET Scholarship Program for the 2013 school year. So far, 16 students from the Natpiddimunai, Annamalai, and Pandirupu areas have been identified as needing special help and support. These 16 students, ages 6-15, come from families which have been severely affected by tsunami, war, or other hardships. All are missing at least one parent, and all face great obstacles to receiving the basic necessity of a proper education.

Rose Charities has worked with community support workers, local public school administrators, and the divisional secretary’s office to identify those children with the greatest need. After background checks and verification was conducted by RCSL, 16 students and their families were brought together for a meeting on August 30th with Rose Charities Sri Lanka CEO Anthony Richard and Rose staff who implement this program. Each of these 16 students will receive continued financial and material support provided by generous overseas donors participating in the K2K program. Initially, this will include a school supply package consisting of pens, pencils, a geometry set, textbooks and exercise books, and a backpack. In addition, an educational savings account has been opened for eight of the older students with an initial deposit.

CEO Anthony Richard talked with the families about the importance of saving for a child’s educational future and of the great empowerment and success that can be attained with a quality education. He also stressed accountability for both students and parents in keeping Rose Charities up-to-date so that it can provide continued support, and in ensuring that the funds donated to the K2K program are making a real and lasting impact on children’s lives.

More information on the K2K program can be found here: https://roseeducation.wordpress.com/k2k/
We wish these students the best of luck as they enter the 2013 school year, and we look forward to many future successes!

Zambia – Malambo scholarship program expands..

Our scholarship program continued in 2012..and it grew! We are really excited that we were able to start two new scholarships programs this year: one to assist orphaned and at risk children at St. Vincent’s in Monze, and the Chen Family Foundation Scholarship for underprivileged children to study music at the Ngoma Dolce Music Academy in Lusaka.

The process for determining each year’s scholarship recipients is long and detailed. Many hours are spent by the Malambo Grassroots volunteers, working with locals in Zambia, for the two student intake periods during the school year:  meet with all of the students, ensure they are meeting the criteria to keep their scholarship, and discuss their upcoming needs to ensure we are all working towards common goals. But the many hours put in are always worth the outcome! We’re pleased to say that we are now able to help students going to college and university after successfully completing all school levels to that point!

And, in conjunction with Mwabuka Zambia, our in-country partner, we organized the distribution of funds to about 70 students from Grade 8 to post-secondary education, and were also able to build housing for two teachers.

We’re also thrilled to have started a new relationship with Katulumba Elementary School in Siavonga, working with teachers to address their needs and ensure the right school supplies are provided. We look forward to developing our relationship with them!

2012 also saw the continuation of our community issues lectures. We funded a series of workshops for Grade 7 students on challenges experienced during adolescence. It was really well received and we hope to provide more of this series in the coming months.

A school with no pencils…

A school with no pencils, paper, windows, text books, desks, electricity or water. This is Katalumba School (300 students) built by the community so their small children do not have to walk 1.5 hours to the next nearest school. This year we are fundraising to hopefully supply paper, pencils, and text books.

David (UN) writes ..”OK everyone, listen up. Development. It’s really all about education. And kids are where we start! Somewhere out there is the next Einstein, the next Nobel laureate, a future great leader, or simply a great kid hoping for the opportunity of a better education. Not a hand-out. An opportunity! Katalumba is a fee paying school built by the community to give their children that opportunity. We can help make it even better! This community has a population of 3000, though students from other neighborhoods attend this school as well. The employment rate is 3%.



For $1500 they could get text books, pencils and writing books for the kids. An additional $500 they could set up the teachers with some much needed teaching aids, and the children could have some extras like rulers, poster paints… Another $1000 could start a small library collection. If they could get more than that they would get windows with burglar bars, desks and a chair and table for the teachers. Down the road the school dreams of building more classrooms – grades 4 and up. When they can eventually upgrade the school to government standards, the government will then adopt the school! That opens many more doors!”



Malambo Grassroots

Art fundraiser for Zimbabwe and Zambian kids: W.Vancouver. Sept 9th (Sun)