School meals feed Nicole’s dreams of becoming a teacher

Hot food each day helps children focus on studies

Volana Rarivoson
Dec 13, 2017 · 3 min read
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Nicole attends a history class. Photo: WFP/Volana Rarivoson

Thirteen-year-old Nicole is no longer the little girl who went to Ankileisoka primary school in Amboasary district, southern Madagascar. She now proudly wears her beige college uniform…and her glasses make her feel like a student.

Nicole’s parents are farmers who, like many others in the southern region, suffer from the effects of drought. In fact, the southern and southeastern parts of the island face recurrent natural disasters that have left nearly 1.6 million people food insecure.

“I encourage other children to go to school.”

Nicole though has had the chance to attend primary school and to receive a daily hot meal from the World Food Programme (WFP), in partnership with the Ministry of National Education of Madagascar.

This has helped her get closer to her dream of becoming a teacher, as she is able to better focus on study when she is not hungry. “I encourage other children to go to school and receive meals too,” she says.

Nicole and her former classmates wash their hands. They were taught about hygiene in primary school. Photo: WFP/Riana Ravoala

Becoming a Ramose (teacher) is the ambition of many children in southern Madagascar. Nicole wants to make it a reality. In July 2017, she passed her elementary school examination and then attended a nine-week English course in Amboasary during the winter holiday, with 20 other former classmates.

“Learning English will help me to become a teacher one day,” she says. WFP, through its Ambovombe office in southern Madagascar, has been feeding children’s dreams thanks to support from donors.

In late October, Nicole started her secondary education at Collège Sacré Coeur school in the Ambovombe district. She now lives far from her parents in a boarding centre run by nuns.

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Nicole has started secondary education at Collège Sacré Coeur. Photo: WFP/Fenoarisoa Ralaiharinony

“We miss Nicole but we know that we have made the right choice to send her to pursue her studies in Ambovombe if we want to help her build a brighter future,” says Nicole’s aunt and former teacher Zeasa.

Nicole is living a new chapter of her life. Even though she lives far away from her parents, she is attending a school well known for providing a high quality of education. She also learns to live within a community with the other students.

“I eat normally now.”

“I eat normally now. Life was tough in the village, we sometimes only ate one or two meals a day,” Nicole says. WFP, by supporting the school meals programme in Madagascar, helps feed the dreams of Nicole and thousands of other vulnerable children.

School meals in Madagascar are jointly implemented by the Ministry of National Education, WFP and other UN agencies, thanks to the funding received from bilateral donors such as France, Japan, Norway and Russia, multilateral donors such as the Global Partnership for Education (World Bank) through the Government of Madagascar, and from private sector partners such as the FEED Projects and the Cosmetics company Clarins.

See here for more on WFP’s work in Madagascar.

World Food Programme Insight

Insight by The World Food Programme

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