...with the number '10' (yes, ten years!) in there. It marks a milestone that would not have been possible without your support.
It marks an excellent reason for festivities in the village and an opportunity to celebrate our achievements with the community. It also allows us to take a step back and look at the last decade. more
August 30, 2016
This photo is just too adorable and we want to share it right away. We got it with the following email on August 29:
“We [in Madagascar] will have a total eclipse of the sun on Sept. 1st from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Our work currently at the Ministry of Health is to sensitize people to protect their eyes by wearing special glasses for that. It's funny some people told us why this eclipse will take place now and but not in June or July. Some preachers claim that it is an announcement of the end of the era as mentioned on the Holy Bible, or a prediction of bad news. We will just have to wait and see.
Zahana bought hundreds of special eclipse glasses for our kids in our schools, both in Fiarenana and Fiadanana. This is an excellent “teachable moment” for our teachers to talk about astronomy and the celestial bodies. We sent our “Santa” to deliver the glasses and explain to them in person that we will meet again after the eclipse. We also wanted to emphasize and encourage the villagers (or their parents) to learn the facts, so they don’t sell all their belongings out of fear.
See you after the eclipse”
PS: On Sept. 1, the moon will pass in front of the sun, creating a brilliant ring of sunlight visible from areas around the southern Indian Ocean. When the moon creates a ring of sunlight during an eclipse instead of completely blocking the solar disk, it's known as an annular eclipse or "ring of fire" eclipse.
August 2016: In Memoriam of Dadaleva
“Dadaleva, the tradipractioner (traditional practitioner), passed away in the night of 8 July 2016. Having permission and blessing from his family we went through a simple Zahana celebration a months later (see the photos). The celebration was held in his house. Even he himself didn’t know his own age, and he used to say “more than 60” for the last two decades. But I think he was older than my mother who passed away at 89 a few years ago, so he must have been way over 90 years old. The Famadihana, a traditional Malagasy funeral service was held in the village itself with his entire extended family” [A big event when Malagasies wrap again the bones of their deceased loved one with new shrouds.]
Lovingly referred to as the ‘father of the village” by our founder Dr. Ihanta, Dadaleva was not only the heart and soul of the village but also our biggest Zahana supporter. Our work would not have been possible without his unwavering support and blessing from day one, way back in 1998 when Zahana was founded. In 2005 he donated the land on which Zahana’s first school still stands. He was an amazing traditional healer whose skill and ability was sought after from people hundreds of miles away. It was an open secret that when Western doctors in the area “ran out of options” they recommended to see Dadaleva, because if he could not help, nobody could.
We will dearly miss this amazing healer and humble wonderful human being.
He has been in many photos over the years, since he was pivotal for many events. Always discretely in the background shying away from the camera, you see him always wearing the traditional Malagasy lamba, regardless of the occasion. - more -
November 2015 In Memoriam
"The bad news we learnt about returning made us deeply sad. The dad of our ‘boys’ Donné and Doré (water police*) passed away last Thursday. He walked to town to see his sons using ‘the shortcut’ to bring them a bag of rice. He had hoped to get back home the same day as one way, using the shortcut, takes less than 2 hours. On his way back, too late in the day, at nightfall he missed a ravine and fall down. People from Fiadanana were worries when he did not return home and they went looking for him. Unfortunately when he was found, he was already dead at the bottom of the ravine. He passed away all alone, without any help.
When you look at the photos you can see that he (in the middle) was very proud of his 2 sons and in the firm believe that that they are in the way to success. At the time he did not realize that passing that BEPC is just the beginning of a long road of study ahead from them."
Update August 15, 2015
With great pride we post this update for Zahana. Email and SMS (or text message) makes it possible to share the good news almost in real time. “Our brave country boys passed their exam! They are among the 51% in the entire region of Tsiroanomandidy who successfully passed their BEPC (high school entrance exam). I`m really happy, we will celebrate with them. They will be living in Tsiroanomandidy and go to high school there. There is no better tenth anniversary gift for Zahana. Back in October 2005, when Raleva our traditional healer donated the land to built our community school nobody even dreamed of such a wonderful result.” More
Update: July 2015
The BEPC (Brevet d'Etude du Premier Cycle) exam starts this coming Monday, August 3 from 3 to 5 PM. The three day long test will be held in Tsiroanomandidy*.
They will go to high school in Tsiroanomandidy if they pass the test. Once again, they will stay there by themselves like they were in Bevato for middle school. So let's pray for them they will be successful not just in school but especially as a reward for their exceptional behavior, they are so humble and understand where they came from. They are the best role model Zahana could wish for. As I couldn't be with our courageous students, our Zahana Santa agreed to do that for them. He is leaving Friday to drive them from the village of Fiadanana to Tsiroanomandidy and find a temporary housing for them. We already sent new clothes I got more donated from colleagues for them, everyone seems to admire our brave country-boys.
*Explanatory note: Tsiroanomandidy is the next (and only) bigger town in the area. Tsiroanomandidy can be reached via a paved road from the capital (a five hour’s drive) and has such amenities as a hospital, electricity and a high school. It takes about four to five hours to walk from Fiadanana to Tsiroanomandidy.
Update: March 2015
"Madagascar has experienced an exceptionally devastating cyclone season in early 2015. The severe weather and rain caused a lot of damage. Our team had tried to visit our villages in late January to make sure they were OK after the first big cyclone. They were unable to reach the villages and the driver had to turn around, since the roads were impassable and unsafe. We later sent our founder’s nephew, a strong young man, who had to walk the last 20 kilometers on foot to reach our villages and give us and update:
“The roof and the door of our school in Fiarenana was damaged by the cyclone (it will be repaired by the community, financed by their school treasury). The parents’ association and students are in the process of replacing, respectively replanting, some trees in the school yard that were broken down by the cyclone. Some rice paddy were invaded by sand-flooding”
Christmas tree at Zahana’s school in Fiadanana 2014 more
Ocrober 2014: Potatoes - a failure story with a happy end
It is our great privilege and honor to announce that the Health Center in our village of Fiadanana has been officially inaugurated at the end of May 2014!
Now, after an official ribbon cutting ceremony, the healthcare center is ready to see patients. One of our proudest achievements is that the new health center will host the community’s own traditional healer Raleva to work side-by-side with a Ministry of Health certified trained midwife. To have such a true healing center in our village has been a dream for the community and Zahana since our very first community meeting over a decade ago. (See health center’s groundbreaking 2013.)
DECEMBER 2013: Reforestation Assessment
JULY 2013: The visit of the honorable Madame Minister of Health Dr. Johanita Ndahimananjara was the biggest event in the history of the villages that collaborate with Zahana. In this photo Madame Minister of Health of Madagascar is laying the foundation for the new Health Center in the village of Faidanana.
Villagers were informed about the upcoming visit ahead of time. If a minister in Madagascar announces such a visit she is coming with bodyguards and is accompanied by all the representatives of ministries at the region level. Villagers were notified especially about the presence of bodyguards so they would not get afraid. More
Zahana issues with our village partners are interconnected, three example, that hopefully will make you curious:
By the same token trees need years to grow and many projects need time to show lasting result. A constant challenge in the 20-second sound byte era (the video below for the visual learners). We hope you may spend some time exploring our site's many links further. Thank you.
Zahana's YouTube channel: click here
Access to clean, safe water was the first priority for the community of Fiadanana in working with Zahana. The current running clean and safe water system in their village was built collaborative. 2.5 km long from the mountain to the village, it provides clean safe drinking water for over 1000 people. Learn more
ZAHANA is a community benefit organization in Madagascar. Zahana is dedicated to participatory rural development, education, reforestation, revitalization of traditional Malagasy medicine, and sustainable and environmentally-friendly agriculture. The goal of Zahana is to develop a community-based rural development project focused on priorities set by the villagers themselves. It is Zahana’s philosophy that development must be based on local needs and solutions proposed by local people. It is important to start small and stay focused on local priorities rather than on agendas set somewhere else by national or international bodies.
Zahanas activities are ongoing. We started working in Fiadanana in 2005, assisting the community to build their communal water system (link). Zahana attempts to address all issues vital for a community development, an approach we call 'integrative development'. It remains a constant challenge to present all of our activities on this website in an easy to navigate format. We try to improve it constantly (hence the quick links on top or the menu to the right). Your feedback is very much appreciated.
Inspired by their neighbors the community of Fiarenana invited Zahana to work with them. Their community built school has been inaugurated in March 2010. Learn more
Building a school for its children was the community second priority for Fiadanana. Since 2006 two teachers, hired and trained by Zahana are teaching in the community built school. Learn more about the school in Fiadanana
Note: THIS WEB SITE IS A VOLUNTEER EFFORT AND IT KEEPS GROWING, AS OUR DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS IN FIADANANA AND FIARENANA IN MADAGASCAR BECOME A REALITY. WE TRY TO INCLUDE AS MANY PICTURES/PHOTOS AS POSSIBLE ON THIS WEB SITE, SO YOU CAN SEE WHERE AND HOW ZAHANA IS WORKING. PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS
This page was last updated December 29, 2016