Sarthe: To build a new classroom in a school in Madagascar, the couple is calling for donations

Nicole and Christophe Rochard, residents of Chantenay-Villedieu (Sarthe), want to build a new classroom within the VAZA bush school in Madagascar. ©Sable News

The hygienic conditions had interrupted their travel rhythm. On November 6, Christophe and Nicole Rochard, at the head of the École de Brousse VAZA association, were able to fly away in the direction of Madagascar

They have since gone back and forth in January 2022 before returning in March. “It is our second country”, says the retired couple who between Chantenay Villedieu Sarthe) and The Big Island.

For nearly a decade, the residents of Sarthe have been committed to helping children living in Foulpointe, a rural area on the east coast of Madagascar† Within the school they had built, they now want to add a class.

Seduced by the kindness of the Malagasy people

Having chained tours all these years, Nicole and Christophe still remember their very first trip. It was 1999.

“We had spent 15 days there as tourists† We were seduced by the kindness of the Malagasy people. These are people who have nothing, but would give everything. Even if they are poor, I do not find them unhappy. They always have a smile on their face. All we can wish for is an improvement in their health and medical condition”, Nicole says cheerfully.

When they met a Malagasy, Pascal Fagnay, “this Vaza”, in 2012, the pensioners wanted to embark on a project to build a school in the middle of the shrub

It was Pascal who had this idea in the beginning. He thought the children were too far from the village to go to school.

Nicole Rocherd

From 30 to 112 students

The construction is launched. For the first time Back to school, about thirty students will be welcomed over the year 2013-2014. “Today there are 112”, Nicole announces proudly.

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The Chantenaysiens are happy to see numbers starting to pick up again after the health crisisthe record number of children in care stands at 132.

There are rumors locally that classes will fill up even more. And you know, in Madagascar, rumors have a big place, whether they’re good or bad.

€ 8,300 in works

Precisely to make more space, the association is now leading a new project: that of building an extra classroom at the start of the next school year.

“A 6th grade would make it possible to duplicate the levels of CP1 and CP2. The kids don’t have many books. The lesson is written on the board and they have to copy it. It’s hard to keep up in a room with 40 kids,” the couple explains.

bush school vaza chantenay sarthe
Pupils trained in the VAZA bush school. ©VAZA Bush School Association

For their project, the total amount of the work is € 8,300 according to the quote sent.

Everything is done by hand there. We don’t have a vending machine.

Solidarity sales

In addition to private individuals, the association asked companies that could help them with their project.

But so far there are few answers. Every afternoon we wait impatiently for the postman.

Nicole and Christophe multiply the solidarity sales the weekend on the occasion of various trinkets. On the stalls, visitors can find Malagasy crafts, as well as vanilla and spices that the couple takes back in their suitcases.

And the tickets for the next one trip have already been taken. From September 15, the Chantenaysiens will start again. “Everything is already programmed”, they announce with a laugh.

Practical: The bush school association VAZA is looking for donations. Contact 02 43 92 64 23. Mail:

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