Education et Santé
pour les enfants du monde

Great Dictation: all children at Androhasatra-Betioky now sponsored!

Final results reveal that the eight participating private schools in Geneva have raised a total of CHF 67,782.00, far in excess of the target set in October 2016. Almost one thousand children and teachers took part in this show of solidarity for Madagascar.

The sponsorship means that all 360 children enrolled for their first school year have a uniform and school supplies and receive a daily nourishing meal.

Money left over, some CHF 25,000.00, will go first and foremost towards further training for the teachers. Additional options include providing boarding facilities for teachers living far away and building new classrooms. The needs are great and we shall study all possibilities with our local partners SOS Villages d’Enfants Madagascar.

Thanks and well done to the schools and their sponsors for this amazing result!

enfants dAndohasatra Betioky

A big thank-you on behalf of all the Andohasatra-Betioky children!

The Great Dictation: in class with the children at Ecole Brechbuehl

“What’s the temperature in Madagascar?” asked the young boy. His classmates gathered round, poring over a map of the world, trying to work out the climate of the island from its proximity to the equator. After some discussion, and the opinion of the teacher, it was agreed that Madagascar was “rather hot” and very humid.

“What’s the temperature in Madagascar?” asked the young boy. His classmates gathered round, poring over a map of the world, trying to work out the climate of the island from its proximity to the equator. After some discussion, and the opinion of the teacher, it was agreed that Madagascar was “rather hot” and very humid.

Ecole Brechbühl
Great concentration is needed for these little
hands to cut out and stick the letters correctly

This discussion came at the end of a dictation, in French, part of the Dictée du Choeur fundraising drive taking place at the Ecole Brechbühl, a private primary school on the edge of Geneva’s historic Old Town. The pupils of 6P, a boys-only class (an exception at the school), had just listened to their teacher, Virginie Voituret, read a 96-word text describing the island where Don du Choeur has built a primary school.

The work at Brechbühl is the culmination of the Great Dictation series for the Madagascar project. Every class is taking part, and every pupil has asked his or her family for sponsorship for each word correctly spelt. The idea is to supplement the money already raised in order to provide a uniform, school supplies and a daily meal to each of the 360 children attending the new school at Andohasatra-Betioky, in the poverty-stricken south of the island.

It was the Head of Brechbühl, Gabrielle Schneebeli – herself a former pupil there – who came up with the idea of organising a dictation to support Don du Choeur, following a similar experience in another school she had worked in. The first was for the Kenya project, in 2013, and raised the extraordinary amount of CHF 22,000.

“Of course it was an excellent result,” says Mrs Schneebeli, “but it’s not only about the money. The Great Dictation has two aspects that are important to us: pedagogical, in that the children are encouraged to give of their best in a spelling test; and humanitarian, in that they’re doing it not for themselves but for children who are really in need. That is very close to the school’s core values.”

Ecole Brechbühl
Each word correctly spelt earns money to support
the Malagasy schoolchildren

It’s not only the older pupils taking part: in class 1P, a group of four-year-olds helped to write the word Madagascar on the chalkboard, then were given a sheet of paper with the letters on it, in random order; their task was to cut out the letters and then stick them down in the right order, to spell the word

properly. For each correct letter the sponsors had to pay whatever amount they had pledged.

Did they understand why they were doing this, what the money raised would go towards? “The children in Madagascar don’t have money to go to school, so we help them,” says Solal, who claims he is “almost five”.

Their teacher, Angela Mossaz, says they began the project by seeing the animated film “Madgascar”, talking about the animals, and in general about what it meant to be in a poorer country and how we in more privileged positions could help.

Entry-year classes of three-year-olds can also take part; their challenge is to correctly recognise the colours on the Madagascar flag, or name animals in pictures.

The staff and children at the Ecole Brechbühl, along with the four other private schools* that have taken part in the Great Dictation, have made a direct and measurable difference to the lives of the children in Andohasatra-Betioky – children of many nationalities, living in Geneva, have helped to give the children in “rather hot” Madagascar the hope of a better life.

Ecole Brechbühl
The boys of Class 6P manage to combine
good work with a sense of fun

*Other participating schools as of 1 February 2017: Institut Florimont, La Découverte, Eden School, and the Ecole en Musique. Other fundraising activities were organised by the Lycée Toepffer and the Ecole des Nations. More schools are planning to get involved. The results of the Great Dictation are updated on the Don du Choeur website and will be published in the next newsletter


The Great Dictation: a superb result!

Children and teachers at six of Geneva’s private school have moved heaven and earth to help children in south Madagascar.
By the end of 2016 they had succeeded in raising money for the schooling and daily meals of 296 out of the 360 who have been registered for the 2016-2017 year at Andohasatra-Betioky school.
How was this possible in just three months?!

Word after word, line after line, dictation after dictation about Madagascar… since last October, the process was meticulously organised with the support of the Geneva children’s families, bringing together the Institut Florimont, La Découverte School, Eden School, and the Ecole en Musique; A Christmas Fair was set up at the Lycée Toepffer and a yard sale at the Ecole des Nations. What amazing energy!

Altogether, 296 Malagasy children have now been sponsored for their first year at school.

un resultat incroyable

Well done and thank you to all involved. We need just another small effort to help change the lives of all 360 of the children who so need your support.
Next results: 10 February 2017

The Great Dictation: 250 children sponsored so far!

Two months of spelling tests have made children in Geneva ever more keen to help; the variety of subjects covered ensures that their interest never flags!

In November, 131 children have been sponsored thanks to the efforts of children at the Institut Florimont, La Découverte school and the Ecole en Musique. Thanks are also due to the generosity of one particular Foundation – and of a birthday party which raised funds for Madagascar! A big thank-you to everyone for your huge enthusiasm, so touching.

Our next results will be announced on 31 December, along with our good wishes for the New Year.

250 enfants parraines

One child coloured in respresents 10 sponsored children, equal to CHF 1,200 raised. So far, 250 children, out of the 360 attending school, have had their school costs covered.

Great Dictation spells success for Madagascar project

Geneva’s Institut Florimont and La Découverte schools, with altogether more than 300 children in 17 primary classes, took part in October’s Great Dictation…

Pupils and teachers gave their all for the 360 children enrolled at our school in the south of Madagascar. Well-prepared dictations, words spelled correctly, and patient parents! In the space of a month, the schools raised sponsorships totalling CHF 14,299. ! With this incredible sum, the children in Geneva will have sponsored, in all, 119 children at the Andohasatra-Betioky school.

This means that one out of three children in Andohasatra is assured of going to school for a year and of eating one square meal a day. A big thank you to all of you!


One child appearing on the picture above equals 10 children sponsored; the equivalent of CHF 1,200 raised.
In October, thanks to you, 119 children out of 360 have been sponsored.

Please keep up the good work and take part in next month’s Great Dictation; see you on 30 November!