The Analasatrana community school project began quite organically, when a British couple visiting the Ankarana noticed the dire lack of schools in the region. Their encounter with the nature and people of the Ankarana left an impact that stayed with them all the way back home to the UK.
Wanting to do something to address the lack of access to education in the region, they contacted Christi, the Peace Corps Volunteer working in the Ankarana at the time. She told them about the village of Analasatrana, which had no public school and over 100 school-age children. Some of them attended overcrowded schools in adjacent villages, but most were not enrolled in school, as their families could not afford the extra cost, stress, and time associated with sending their kids elsewhere to study.
The couple decided to make a generous donation to the Analasatrana community to help build a school for its children, a project plan that had been created beforehand but had lacked financial backing. Christi helped to link the donors to the community stakeholders, and as she finished her Peace Corps service, the school construction began. Christi moved to to the capital of Madagascar for her new job, and Julia, who followed Christi as the Ankarana region PCV, helped to oversee the school project.
The project experienced a series of delays in materials purchase and construction, in large part due to the political crisis in Madagascar and the subsequent coup. It became difficult to manage international transfers, materials’ costs were in flux, and meanwhile the rainy season made the road to Analasatrana impassable, preventing the arrival of construction materials for months at a stretch.
By the time construction resumed after several months of interruption, costs of imported construction materials such as cement and re-bar had increased, Peace Corps had evacuated its volunteers, and Christi had left Madagascar.
Donors and project facilitators decided to regroup and form a new strategy for the future of the Analasatrana community school. Meanwhile, Christi accepted a position back in Madagascar, and Julia created the idea of Atsika as a means to formally support education and conservation in the Ankarana, for the long-term.
Completing the Analasatrana community school and ensuring its long-term sustainability is a key initial activity for Atsika, for board members Julia and Christi, and for our dedicated, generous donors. We hope you will join our cause.