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  • Melodie Paubert

Senioritis: Nofy i Androy Students Moving On to University

I arrived in Madagascar last week and I am traveling home to Ambovombe, to spend the next ten months helping the students of Nofy i Androy as they complete their final year of high school. I am not only thrilled but also honored to have the opportunity to promote young women’s education in my hometown. I cannot wait see these amazing and ambitious young women transition from high school to university. I’ve lived most of my life in Madagascar and am extremely fortunate to have experienced life as a student both in Madagascar and the United States. In the United States I have been exposed to many opportunities and skills that I would never have gained in Ambovombe. When I first moved to the United States, I was wowed by how small the average high school classroom was. Growing up, I remember trying to get to class early just to get a descent seat, and maybe if I got there early enough I could sit in the front where I could hear the teacher and see the blackboard. Whereas in the US, I don’t recall being in a classroom with more than thirty students in it and everyone has the right to a seat. In Ambovombe, some students use the walls or each other’s backs to flatten their notebooks so that they can copy what the teacher writes on the board.

Education has always been important to me—especially women’s education. In my hometown, the number of young women who attend high school tend to decrease drastically. According to, only 24% of all female students enrolled in primary school attended secondary school in 2008 – 2012. This may be due to gender inequalities or gender roles and financial constraints, as universities tend to cost a fortune. I vividly remember the difference in gender drop-outs in my classes from elementary school to even the end of my primary school. This was easy for me to identify because everyday we used to line up in front the school by gender. In Elementary school we had almost the same number of girls as we had boys. When sixth grade came the number of boys remained the same while the number of girls seemed to have decreased by half. I was fortunate to have a family who valued education and who could afford to put me in school even if it meant skipping that fancy meal or not getting that nice dress I wanted.

Providing education to high potential young female Malagasy students is Nofy i Androy's goal and I am more than pleased to lead the group this year. I look forward to welcoming a new set of young women to the organization this year and to successfully putting every NiA student in university. For more updates on these young women and our organization, follow our website and facebook and twitter page. I will be regularly updating on both my experiences as Program Manager, as well telling the stories of NiA's students, their challenges, and their success.

If you’d like to make a donation and help these young women get to college and welcome a new set of students to Nofy i Androy please visit our homepage and make a donation. From my updates you will see how far your donation has gone and what difference it made. By donating you, are not only continuing NiA’s work but also expanding the organization as we plan to branch out of Ambovombe Androy in the future. Help us fill the education gap between males and females by donating. Your small change such as $1, $5 or $10 will create change and will go far.

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