A dream started burgeoning that lead into a reality.
It all started during the lockdown time of COVID-2019. Due to the several difficulties during the unprecedented time, our objective to open a vocational hotel school in Nosy Be, Madagascar got postponed, therefore we opted to prepare our potential and first candidates by offering them online English classes. To our surprise, this idea took a different turn.
We initially invested in 3 computers and started an online English class to help the financially challenged students aged 17 to 24 to get accustomed to the computer world and to get more familiarized with the English language as we realized that most of them had never worked on a computer and had very limited knowledge of the English language. We started by giving a job opportunity to 3 individuals from financially challenged families to become the supervisors and gave them a daily online training for 4 weeks. Today we can proudly say that they are communicating in English with us and are very well supervising the students on board.
Our ultimate objective is to help and educate financially challenged students, to offer them a specialized program in the hospitality and tourism industry and to prepare them towards a wonderful future which will lead them to uplift themselves, their families and their community.
The journey started!
As the flights were discontinued, the 3 laptops were loaded in a Taxi Brousse, which is a collective taxi system in Madagascar. These taxis are packed to the gills with people and products, shuttle from one city to the other, from market towns to remote country hamlets. Taxi brousses are the Malagasy version of bus taxis. They are slow and uncomfortable, this being the only affordable alternative to chartering inter-cities within Madagascar. Although the number of passengers depends on body volume, there seems to be no limit for goods. Everything that does not fit in the car, will be tied on the roof: large luggage, bicycles, sacks of rice or charcoal, furniture, chickens and geese. People will have little or no leg room and children sleeping on people’s laps.
Halfway through the trip, the ride continued on a boat in order to cross the greater Island of Madagascar to the island of Nosy Be. The computers became the main priority for everyone on board, they all got anxious on how to secure them from the high tide and splashing waters over them. They secured them inside and in the safest part of the boat to keep them dry and not move, the computers became the big ordeal of everyone on the boat throughout the journey.
They reached the final destination after 48 hours of travel! It was quite an adventure!
The school opened its doors to the students on October 8, 2020. The first class took off very well and to our amazement, the number of students has been growing since then, on a daily base. Students are persistent and are demonstrating a lot of improvement and dedication, they are highly motivated, some of them come from very far away suburbs leaving their home as early as 5am to be on time for their 9am class. Others come as far as 30kms away from the city. They have been attentively attending their classes per week. They are avid on wanting to learn much more.
A whole new world has opened up for them: access to the latest laptops and the English language taught digitally with constant interactivity. There are some super smart students catching up very quickly. They understand that they are now entering in a new era and that from now on there will be an endless horizon opening for them..
Students started conversing in English. They are enjoying the classes and are consistent in their work and working hard to obtain a certificate which will then allow them to get admitted in our Vocational Hotel School.
Today, reaching towards the end of 2 months teaching online, the classes are moving forward. Our students have completed the first module and received a certificate which is considered a great achievement among themselves and this will certainly motivate others and will also drive other students to obtain a certificate before the end of this year.
We are thrilled to see how seriously these financially challenged students take the courses seriously and some of them have started talking in English. Our supervisors instaured the idea of asking every student waiting outside to start their class to converse only in English among them.
Seven weeks down the road, we are extremely proud to observe that we have 102 financially challenged students who are avidly following our program and moving forward to an incredible speed and showing amazing results which are motivating us to improve and enlarge these classes. The numbers of the students are exponentially growing on a daily base and we are aiming to end this year with 200 students on board, or more.
Cobara School has been a tremendous help and support. Again, thank you to the Cobara School for being our dedicated partner in this initiative! Together, we are making wonders in the life of these well-deserved students who one day will no doubt become one day uplift their whole generation.