When the “Tsiry” (“seeds” in Malagasy) literacy project started in autumn 2010 with the training of the teachers, nobody had any idea how long-term, successful, and sustainable the programme would be. Since 2011, 5509 adults and 2180 children, including 1283 girls, have participated. There are 11 different locations for adults and 7 locations for children.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some interruptions, but courses have largely been completed. Masks have been given to adults and children, and teachers and pupils have been taught about hygiene rules.
Classes for children
Classes for children end with the CEPE exam (Certificate of Elementary Primary Education). The teachers are proud that the children from the Tsiry programme have a success rate of 69%, which is better than that of pupils in public schools. This result is all the more impressive given that some lessons had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 and the fact that the children come from disadvantaged families – their parents often cannot read and write themselves.
The children have continued to receive a hot meal every day from the school kitchens, even during the cutbacks in lessons. The food is cooked by the mothers.
Classes for adults
At the beginning of the pandemic, the adult classes also had to be interrupted but were able to start up again after a few months, in compliance with the social distancing rules issued by the local authorities. The participants were informed about barrier gestures. 556 participants have completed the programme and received their diploma since the beginning of the pandemic: a great success!
In general, at the end of their training, the participants choose income generating activities with which they are already familiar, for example renting rice fields, which they cultivate themselves until the harvest can be sold, or micro-credit projects in which the funds are loaned to the members and repaid with the income from the next harvest.
This part of the project is particularly important because the COVID-19 crisis hits the most disadvantaged people particularly hard. Madagascar has one of the highest poverty rates in the world and it continues to rise.
Training, exchange, and evaluation
Every year, the teachers and the diocesan committee meet in Manakara to exchange experiences. It is also a time for review and evaluation, to see what could be improved, what problems should be solved and to discuss the results of the different sites. Finally, it is a chance to train new teachers. Overall, the quality of the teaching is improving each year.
The Tsiry project will continue next year and beyond. The demand for the programme is high because the population realises that being able to read and write is truly empowering.
We would like to say a big thank you to our donors and invite you to continue supporting this successful project, which gives hope and new prospects to so many people in difficult situations.