Boky Mamiko was born in October 2017 from the initiative of Rossana Galli, a lecturer at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and research collaborator of the International Labour Organisation, and Geneviève Soaritony, the founder of the Mamiko school, a kindergarten and primary school in her native village of Djangoa, district of Ambanja, in a rural area of North West Madagascar. The appalling lack of books in rural Madagascar and the conviction that education is the key for sustainable development led Rossana and Geneviève to come up with the idea of creating a library for the Mamiko school.
With the collaboration of Boky Mamiko Educational Director Felicia Sexsmith, the Lycée Français de Zurich, and a group of student volunteers from the University of Zurich, Boky Mamiko collected, carefully selected, and classified more than 600 children's books in French and Malagasy. The library for the Mamiko school opened its doors in summer 2018. With the help of the student volunteers, who spent their summer 2018 in Djangoa, a local young woman was trained to work as librarian, by reading stories and promoting children's active learning through games and didactic activities.
In November 2018, with the financial support of Boky Mamiko, the Mamiko school started a secondary school, allowing for about 25 children in Djangoa to stay in school past grade 5, and not drop out (as had been the situation prior). The presence of a library and a secondary school led to a real boom in the number of students enrolled at the Mamiko school, which passed from 150 in November 2017 to 257 in November 2019 (of which 38 in secondary school).
In April 2019, a teacher of the Lycée Français de Zurich volunteered to train the teachers of the Mamiko school for a week. In summer 2019, another group of Swiss universities students volunteered to teach French, English and Environmental Education in Djangoa. We have also provided the Mamiko school with solar panels for much needed access to electricity, energy-efficient cooking stoves, and we are financing the construction of a water well to give access to clean water.
Given the lack of trained teachers in remote, rural areas of Madagascar, we also decided to launch a scholarships programme, for Malagasy students willing to attend a Teachers Education university in Antananarivo. At the same time, we financed a six-weeks teachers training course for the teachers of the Mamiko school.
These experiences have guided us to understand the needs of schools in rural Madagascar, and what can be done to help them increase the quality of education offered to their students. We are now committed to expand our impact to other schools of the region, providing books, didactic materials, scholarships, teachers training, volunteer teaching, environmental education, or school infrastructure, according to the specific needs indicated by the local communities and the managers of our partner schools.
In December 2021, the Italian section of Boky Mamiko – Boky Mamiko Italia – was founded, adding more volunteers to our managerial and fundraising efforts to expand our impact on children's education in Madagascar.