Protestant’s school Lyce Privee FJKM David Griffits Ambohidratrimo celebrated a belated but happy 200th aniversary of arrival of a Welsh missionary David Griffiths in Madagascar in 1821.
The aim of the missionary was to preach the gospel, but people were still illiterate so he set about teaching. His priority was to establish schools and this began in 1824 in nine different areas outside of Antananarivo. The cause was supported by the King Radama I.
This was when teaching began in the Ambohidratrimo school. On the 16th March 1826 The King came to attend the first pupils’ exams. There were 36 boys and 13 girls. The king was very pleased and encouraged the pupils and their parents to continue their efforts. That is how the school became a High School (Lycee) and it has kept that name since then. The school continued to prosper until 26th February 1835 when Christians began to be persecuted. It would be 1862 before the persecutions ended and the school was reopened again.
In the present time the school has had its ups and downs. Recently it struggled with poor facilities and getting finances. Due to its conditions it was not attracting any new pupils from the neighborhood.
Since 2018 and 2019 together with our parnters from United Kingdom, a NGO called Money for Madagascar and an informal group of friends in Wales we have started helping the school by fixing a roof, renovating classrooms and repairing other facilities. Ankizy Gasy continued organising extra classes run by our international and Malagasy volunteers. The school also joined the programme called Education for Life. 6th of March 2020 the school was named after the Welsh missionary David Griffiths who became its patron.
Last week, the head of the Protestant Church FJKM attended a ceremony in Ambohidratrimo to commemorate the work of a Welsh missionary 200 years ago. The ceremony was graced by the presence of local authorities, some officials and many guests. Students listened with a great interest to the story of David Griffiths and the sermons of their church leader in Madagascar.
After the mass, few trees were planted around the school and afterwards there was a very ceremonial cutting of the cake.
Ankizy Gasy received a framed certificate commemorating the missionary’s arrival in Madagascar. We passed the certificate to our friends in Wales as symbolic descendants of David Griffiths.