As part of a larger group from Quézac, France, I had an opportunity of taking a trip to Madagascar with La Salette Sisters Elisabeth and Jacqueline. Together we visited their religious communities, and it was during one of those visits that we travelled from the town of Ambararatabe to the village of Bematazana, where we were received an incredible welcome.
While there, we were asked to meet with a group of local residents who were very determined to build a school for the town. The group was comprised of parents, members of the parish council, and local town authorities. This meeting had one clear purpose. They already had a plot of land, and had made 25,000 bricks. But they could proceed no further on their own. They asked us to help them.
Working Hard, Possessing Little
When one considers that the village is small, very poor, and quite a distance from any large town, the steps they had already taken to build a school were enormous.
They had also set aside in the village a house where the sisters could live when they came to run the school. All these measures already set in place manifested their clear determination to provide a school for their children.
From the time I had set foot in the village, I was moved by the plight of the children. I could not remain unsympathetic to this call for help. I knew that, once back home in France, I could engage others to collect money to help build this small school. And so the project “Bricks for Madagascar” was born!
Whatever our personal convictions may be, answering the call for help to build this school is an act of human kindness. The education and formation, which are priorities for the La Salette Sisters, constitute the best way to help children mature and open for them a brighter future. I had visited schools, sometimes overcrowded with 50 and 60 children to a single classroom, and I can assure you that those children were happy and proud to be in school and learning. Although their facilities were not really adequate, they were well behaved and studying quietly.
Madagascar is a very poor country, yet the Malagasy people are very courageous. They want the best for their children, and we have the means to help that happen. I hope that the project “Bricks for Madagascar” will be a means of allowing for that small school in Bematazana to be completed. Rallying together, contributing one, two ten or more euros, we can give work to the people who have already made those first 25,000 bricks, yet moreover we can provide a brighter future to the Malagasy children who will be given an education in the school. Any way that you can help would be appreciated.
In the name of the La Salette Sisters working in Madagascar, “Thank You” (or as one would say in Malagasy, “Misaotra ê”).
First New School Building Opened
PS. Since this article was first published in France, people have responded generously. In a recent communiqué from Sr. Marie Victoire, Superior of the Madagascar mission, we learned that last year classes had begun in Bematazana, using the church for classrooms. Now, the first set of classrooms is finished. The date for the inauguration ceremony has not yet been set. In November, when classes resume, students will soon be able to leave the crowded quarters where they were previously studying and take possession of their new classrooms! A warm “Thank You” to all who have contributed to this first set of buildings!
Project “Bricks for Madagascar” continues for the 500 students now enrolled in the school. Any help that can be given will be sincerely welcomed.
(Article reprinted with permission from La Salette Sisters website; translated by Fr. Jack Nuelle, M.S.)