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Sekoly Champagnat



Our Marist college

26/08/2013: Madagascar

Since 1959 we have been conducting a school in the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo. It is situated in the quarter of Anatihazo. It bears the name of Sekoly Champagnat.

At the time of foundation, this was one of the marginal quarters of the city, where the poorest families lived. Since then the city has grown, driving the poor further away. However, the quarter keeps all the marks of poverty : simple houses, paved streets, without water fountains, easily flooded during the rainy season, muddy in the wet season, dusty in the dry. Every day, thousands of persons, especially youth, wander in all directions. The insistent and spontaneous question is this : What are they doing, what do they live on, especially since the country is going through a crisis without precedent : political, economic, social. Elections are planned in two months. The  candidates are 41, including the putschists. A recent article in the newspaper of the Catholic Church headlined : 92% of the population live below the threshold of poverty, a population made up 60% of children and young people under the age of 20.

Our school, known under the name of SEKOLY CHAMPAGNAT, accomodates in the classes of primary and the first secondary cycle 1600 pupils. Now a building of 12 new classrooms was begun by a company which went bankrupt in the middle of the work. And everthing remained at a standstill for months. The General Council advanced the funds to complete the building. That is the school building you see. The twelve classrooms are already full of pupils. Following this new building, another one of 12 classrooms is going up, thanks to the sponsorship of the Irish Misean Cara fund. Our Marist school will count a total of 40 classes. It will open the second secondary cycle which leads to university. From the next school year, the establishment will be open to almost 2400 students, with classes which sometimes exceed 70 pupils.

How not to express heartfelt thanks to all those who allow the children,  adolescents, young people to cultivate their minds, to face life with trump cards which are going to allow them to be ready for the struggle, ready for life.

Br Giovanni Maria Bigotto

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