The ZAZA Scholarship Program was created in 2011 by Dr. Jody Weir and her friends and family to help students near Maromizaha forest go to school. Education is an aspect of life that many take for granted. While she was there studying infant development in indri and diademed sifaka (the two largest species of lemurs) Jody fell in love with the magic of the forest and realised there were ways she could help the local people who were such an integral part of the forest and it's survival.
This program allows students that would otherwise likely end their schooling at Grade 5, gain an education that could change their lives entirely. The public education system in Madagascar provides schooling from ages 6-11, but after age 11 most parents can't afford to continue sending their child to school. The costs include school fees, paying for their child's uniform, notebooks, book protectors, pens, compasses, rulers and any other supplies that may be needed. In addition, since there isn’t a secondary school in the local village, students need to travel to Andasibe or Moramanga each day, or, in most cases they pay room and board in the village where their school is found. Working with teachers in the area we calculated that the cost for a child to go to school outside their village is roughly $100 USD (this includes room and board, all of their school supplies and all school fees). Since most people live off the land and by cooperating/trading with neighbours, the majority of people do not have cash, or need the little that they have for food and other essentials, and therefore most children do not go to school past Grade 5.
The ZAZA Project awards scholarships to the students who achieve the top grades in Grade 5 at the local primary school. If students continue to be successful with their studies (their report cards are all checked each year), then we try and continue to support them through their schooling. Over the years, we have awarded hundreds of scholarships and in 2018, two students from our original cohort received scholarships to go to University ($500 USD each), two students received scholarships to attend a language certificate program and another 33 students received scholarships towards their secondary education :) We don't have any admin or overhead costs yet, as everything is run by volunteers. Money donated goes towards scholarships and the purchase of school supplies, and annual travel to Madagascar by the project Jody as the project director (who does this work completely voluntarily). By donating to this program you will be helping to ensure the program continues in the years to come. Any amount is appreciated.
For more on the ZAZA Project, which includes a lemur research program, a local monitoring program and this scholarship program, please visit us online at www.zazaproject.com