Our seven-day journey (11-17 October) ended with much happiness and appreciation. Thanks to the representatives from UNICEF Hong Kong and UNICEF Madagascar helping us to make this happen.
Five of us from different locations at IKEA Hong Kong visited projects created in the partnership between IKEA Foundation and UNICEF, as well as sites not yet funded. We now know a lot more about how the donations from Soft Toys for Education can make a big difference to the future of children.
During the visits, there were many precious moments.
The moment of inspiration
The Early Childhood Education Programme at Antsikafoka.
I have attended four IWitness trips and this was the first time I saw a school built with an eco-friendly concept. What a brilliant idea to build the classroom with natural materials from nearby, and concrete blocks which are less energy consuming than normal bricks. It becomes a model for schools in the country. It’s inspiring!
The moment of eagerness
The traditional construction for a primary school at Ambatoharanana.
The school is not funded by UNICEF. The classrooms are simple, with limited desks and chairs, and there are no teaching tools and no electricity. But it doesn’t stop the eagerness of the children to learn and the eagerness of the school teachers and the parents to try improving the study environment. The children walk for two hours to get to school and learn in the dark. The teachers use their creativities to develop interesting teaching materials. The parents of the community are supporting the teachers’ salary, together with whatever they have at home, be it their only pack of rice or their only chicken. It’s moving!
The moment of joy
The primary school at Antetezampafana.
The school is constructed by UNICEF, built with cement, stone walls and a steel roof. It is firm and safe. It is a school and it is a shelter for the families in the village during stormy weather, too. We had a great time there. Besides the soccer game that my colleagues Long Long and Patrik played with the young boys, we explored the drawing and coloring talents of the little children together. It’s joyful!
The moment of love
The Child Protection Programme at SOS Village Enfan at Toamasina.
This is a centre where education and child protection are working together. It is not just a home for the orphans and the children from the vulnerable families; it is also a place where they will be studying together with the children from the village. The love and care are fully expressed through the smiles, the intimacy between the children and the teachers. They are like parents, sons and daughters. It’s touching!
There are many moments in life that I will treasure and feel thankful for. The moments from the IWitness trip at Madagascar are definitely imprinted.