The ZAZA Scholarship Program was created in 2011 to help Malagasy kids go to school. In Madagascar, school is compulsory for children 6–14 years old. The public education system provides primary schooling for the first 5 years (ages 6-11). After that, parents are required to pay school fees in addition to paying for their child’s uniform, notebooks, book protectors, pens, compasses, rulers, and all other needed supplies. If there isn’t a secondary education school in the village students are required to travel to the nearest village with a school each day, or, in most cases they pay room and board in the village with the school and stay there Monday-Friday and go home on weekends (school year runs October-June). This is the case in Anevoka and Beforona, the two villages closest to Maromizaha.
Working with local teachers we calculated that the cost for a single child to go to school outside their village is roughly $100 USD. Since most people live off their land, and by cooperating/trading with neighbors for food, the majority of people do not have cash, or need the little that they have for food, meaning most children do not go to school past year 5.
Secondary school is a combination of junior high school for 4 years (students aged 12–15) and senior high school for 3 years (16–18). At the end of junior high school, graduates receive a certificate, and at the end of senior high school graduates receive their baccalaureate (equivalent of a high school diploma). The University of Madagascar, established in 1951, has 6 separate Universities around Madagascar. The baccalaureate is required for admission to any of the universities.
In 2014 our first cohort of ZAZA Scholars entered their last year of junior high school, with some continuing to earn their certificates.
So far, the ZAZA Project has received donations to cover 17 ZAZA Scholarships. However, Dr. Weir generously decided to use personal funds to provide scholarships for an additional 16 Scholarships. Two of the Scholarships this year went to Tina and Hollandine, also from the original cohort, to attend University! Tina will be studying languages in Antananarivo and Hollandine will be studying Environment at Tamatave. Their scholarships were approximately $500 each.
Herve, one of our ZAZA Scholars from the original cohort in 2011 is now a part of our core Local Monitoring Team. He is currently going to attend language school in 2019 to become fluent in both English and French!
The whole ZAZA Scholarship Program is based on the students who achieve the top grades in Year 5. This is the only way to keep the scholarship fair and assure everyone that there is no bias in picking certain students out of personal preference.
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to support the ZAZA Project in any way. We would also be grateful if you shared our website (www.zazaproject.com) with anyone who may be interested.