From Soccer Balls to Brighter Futures: Empowering Education in Madagascar

July 24, 2023

Picture the quintessential American high school gymnasium. What do you imagine?

When I close my eyes and think of my previous school gym, I see banners of accolades, awards and record times, I see bleachers and basketball nets, snack stands and score boards. There, tucked away in the corner, banished to the storage closet, I also remember the number of ball carts with various sports balls, anything from volleyballs and basketballs, even dodgeballs and kickballs. Soccer balls are there, too. These are plentiful and not given a second thought, sometimes even misused and battered by mischievous or energetic players.

This is not the case at a Madagascar school.

For about 10 days, I traveled with SEED Madagascar and the Teneo members around southern Madagascar to various local schools. We saw old schools, brand new schools, potential school sites, and novel school foundations. On first arrival at a typical school in the southern part of Madagascar, we saw students inside the cement building learning how to write the letter “P,” while a group of older students, perhaps on a break, played and ran outside in the sandy school yard, playing with a homemade ball. When suddenly introduced to a new soccer ball, the students outside were overjoyed, and if it were not for the headmaster eventually ending the activities, I have no doubt they would have kept right on jumping and laughing and playing without end. I later learned those exact students had walked many, many kilometers that day just to get to school.

If so much enthusiasm could be shared over a proper ball, what happens when opportunities emerge for bettered education?

The enthusiasm, attention, and determination for educational pursuit I witnessed when visiting Madagascar schools touched my heart. While SEED Madagascar, partnered with Teneo, works to build opportunities for Malagasy children to begin to receive improved education, it is then up to the students to seize the opportunity. And they truly, truly do. It is those children that are rising to the occasion, enthusiastically engaging in learning, walking all that way, every day to better themselves and support their intellectual growth.

The immense excitement I saw in the schoolyard that day was only half of it. Never have I seen such unmatched willingness and respect for education both from the children and from Teneo and SEED. Education is the core of opening minds, something Teneo always seeks to do. While fun and entertaining, the soccer ball is only a ball, but education is enrichment and opportunity, and that is something we all should strive to support for these children. Both Teneo’s and SEED’s dedication to this passion as well as the Malagasy children’s fervent commitment to this opportunity was so very inspirational to me.

Author:  Sophia Petricoin, Teneo Volunteer


Contact us - We’d love to help you

    Teneo collects your personal data when you complete our online forms. We will use this information to provide an accurate response to your questions or requests and we will keep a record of your form completion in our CRM system. By submitting this form, you agree to us contacting you for the purpose of our response. For more information explaining how we use your personal data, please see our Privacy Policy.