School start-up years
The Dodwell Trust Learning Centre and school in Ampefy was built in 2006 and opened in 2007. It is Registered and Regulated through ASAMA in Madagascar's Ministry of Education. We have 100 pupils in 5 classrooms, some striving for literacy, others striving for excellence. Our aim is to complement not to compete with existing schools.
We are freely open to illiterate youngsters, drop-out children, and the poorest families who cannot afford the inscription fees at state primary school. At secondary level we collaborate with a nearby school to give classes in computer skills and English at our centre. Some of our pupils walk for more than 2 hours to come to school.
Year 1, 2007
the centre opened as an informal school for local children who had never been and were never likely to be enrolled at a school. We had 2 classrooms teaching literacy. The teachers were local people of ability but without qualifications. The numbers were small at first since it took time to convince reluctant parents that their children should go to school.
Year 2, 2008
We started classes for the parents who were illiterate and our numbers of children and adults grew to fill both classrooms. Initially attendance was irregular. We took on a caretaker who had lived in a shack by the lake with 10 small children, none being educated. We allocated 2 ex-store rooms to the family to turn into a little house and all the children came to school.
Year 3, 2009
One of our teachers spoke good English so she also started giving English lessons but we lacked space for these classes. We built a new classroom for English lessons, important since this area is outstandingly beautiful and will one day have a tourist trade. Education will help the local community take part in its own development. The Computer classroom opened with 9 computers. At first few people in Ampefy had any idea why they should want to learn and attendance was irregular. By year end, most of the students in the Computer class came from the state secondary school just up the road. That school makes periods available to their best students to come and study with us as a fixture in their schedule. Thus we try to complement them not to compete. We have 3 lessons in mornings with 2 students at each computer. The secondary school also sends selected students to our English club.
Year 4, 2010
Regular attendance of all classes increased to overflowing, and we began building 2 further classrooms. Nature conservation project activities were initiated to teach children to care about Madagascar’s unique environment. Opening of Library, whilst small, is now oversubscribed and our stock of book increases every year. The local community have embraced this facility with over 500 regular members signed up.