My name is Katie Browne and I endorse this message...
Dear friends and family of the Maroantsetra Peace Corps Volunteers,
We hope to find you all healthy and happy and loyally holding off on all weddings, baby-making, birthdays, graduations and other joyous occasions that we would love to be there for! We miss you all and we can’t thank you enough for all the support you have given us!
That being said, we also LOVE living and working in NE Madagascar and we feel extremely lucky to be here. Many of you have been following our experiences through blogs, phone calls, or letters and have been asking what you can do to help (besides sending candy bars and letters from the states which is obviously our favorite kind of help). Well, the time has come!
The education system in Maroantsetra needs help. For the 227,070 residents of the Maroantsetra district, there is one public high school with 450 students. In order to reach high school, all students within a 90 mile radius must move to Maroantsetra, support themselves, and try to learn everything they can from an education system that can offer them only a blackboard, chalk, and a notebook. No printed papers. No books. No computers. Given that, it is not surprising that only 17 percent of students will manage to graduate from high school. The students that actually make it all the way through the education system here should get a country named after them.
Despite the challenges to the education system, many of the students are unwaveringly motivated, inspired and ambitious. In school, students learn French, English, and Malagasy. Educational materials and media available in Malagasy are, however, decidedly scarce. French and English are extraordinarily important for higher education resources and media exposure. Both students and professionals knock down our doors everyday of the week asking for English lessons or to borrow English books.
This brings me to the PLAN. Led by Peace Crops Volunteer Lynn Brown, the PCV’s of Madagascar decided to find a way to provide educational resources to Madagascar. An organization called Books for Africa has a shipping container filled with 22,000 books with Madagascar’s name on it! Maroantsetra is lined up to receive over 2,000 new books including subjects such as math, science, history, health, geography, English, pleasure reading, and other miscellanea. In addition to books, the high school media center will receive two new computers. The 19 of us in different communities around the country came up with a detailed proposal including all costs of the project, building shelves, renovated spaces and training staff members. Now we just need to fund it!
That’s where you come in! The community of Maroantsetra has been asking for help with this for a long time and they are THRILLED that the books are finally coming! They are eager to donate time, energy and resources to make it all come together. They only thing they don’t have is the funds to ship the box! Together, the volunteers of Maroantsetra need to raise at least $2,000 dollars! Have we convinced you to make a difference?
Help our students DREAM BIG! How to Donate:
- Go to this link: https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=684-132
- Search for the project by going to Google: type in ‘Donate to Peace Corps Project’, click any of the first 3 links, and search for our project by any of the information listed below:
- Country of Service: Madagascar
- Lead Volunteer Name: Lynn Brown
- Project Number: 684-132
- Key Word: A New Chapter
- Volunteer Home State: Maryland
We can’t thank you ALL enough for being there to support us through this whole experience. It’s been quite a ride! By bringing these books to the Malagasy students here, you will be giving them an important tool to help them achieve all they hope for themselves!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
All our love,
Kerry O’Neill, Dave Illgen, Steph Edwards and Katie Browne
Peace Corps Madagascar