SUPPORTING CHILDREN'S LEARNING IN MADAGASCAR
A LIBRARY FOR ÉCOLE MAMIKO
WHAT DOES 'BOKY MAMIKO' MEAN?
In Malagasy "Boky" means "books".
"Mamiko" is a compound noun formed by "Mami", which means "sweet", and "ko", which means "my". It is a word used to address a beloved person or thing.
Hence, "Boky Mamiko": "Books, my love"!
WHY ARE BOOKS NEEDED IN MADAGASCAR?
Books in Madagascar are extremely difficult to find. There are some bookstores in the capital Antananarivo and in the major cities, but in the rest of Madagascar books are a rarity.
Moreover, even if they were available, books would be far too expensive for families and schools to buy them.
As a result, most schools have very few books (if any), and the vast majority of children have no access to books throughout their (often short) education. Hence, it is common for children to end primary education without being able to read.
NOT ANY BOOK, QUALITY BOOKS
Surely the quality of the books that enter a school library is crucial to foster the children's interest in books and to have a positive impact on their development.
For this reason, we carefully read each book that is donated to us and decide whether it is suitable or not for the school library. Only books that children from Madagascar can relate to, and that are respectful of Africa's diversity and culture, get their way into our library. This is not to say that we do not include books on non-African countries and cultures, but we do so in a selective way.
Are you familiar with novelist Chimamanda Adichie's TedTalk on "The danger of a single story"? It is probably the best explanation why we are so careful in selecting our books!
NOT ONLY FRENCH BOOKS, MALAGASY BOOKS TOO
We are also convinced of the importance to support authors and publishers from Madagascar. We therefore include in our library books written by Madagascar authors and published locally in Malagasy or bilingual Malagasy-French.
If you want to better understand why we think that supporting local authors and publishers is important, take a look at this Alert on the mass-donation of books to Madagascar posted by the publishing house Editions Jeunes Malgaches.
the books we bought from Éditions Jeunes Malgaches
A LIBRARY FOR ÉCOLE MAMIKO
the Boky Mamiko library opened its doors in june 2018, and it is a big success!
Boky Mamiko has set up a school library for École Mamiko, a school of about 250 students (kindergarten to secondary), in the rural village of Djangoa, in North West Madagascar.
The library counts more than 600 children's books, both in French and in Malagasy.
We also hired and trained a local young woman to work as librarian, and collaborate with the local teachers to encourage the children's passion for reading.
The library supports École Mamiko to offer bilingual education, particularly for teaching French. As receiving an early-age bilingual education is potentially more effective than learning a foreign language at an older age, the presence of a kindergarten at École Mamiko – which is quite unusual in the rural areas of Madagascar, where schools normally start from primary school age – is in this sense important.
The kick-start of the Boky Mamiko library project was a large donation of children's books collected by the Lycée français Marie-Curie of Zurich.
Thank you for organizing the book collections, and to all who donated their books!
the children of the lycée francais marie curie of zurich donating their books to Boky Mamiko