An Anglican college in Madagascar is facing closure unless a crowdfunding campaign can help it break a decade-long "vicious cycle" of decline caused by two fires in 2005.
St Lawrence’s College in Ambohimanoro, at 145 years
old, one of the oldest of the 30 schools within the area served by the
diocese of Antananarivo; and the only diocesan school in the region.
The college was hit by two fires in 2005, creating what it called a
“vicious cycle” of decline: the fires had a negative impact on the
school’s finances leading to an inability to offer attractive salaries
to teachers. This resulted in reduced motivation and lower quality
education to make the college a less attractive option to potential
As a result, student enrolment declined, leading to further
negative impacts on the college finances.
They say that the college is facing two outcomes: either closure, or -
with a cash injection from the crowd-funding - recovery and college
The college was founded by Anglican missionaries in 1871 and has
sought to remain true to its founding mission: to provide a better
future to Malagasy children by providing an adequate education. Amongst
its famous students are the theologian, the Revd Caleb Razafimino; and
the bio-chemist Professor Albert Ratsimamanga. Both of them are
celebrated in Madagascar and have streets named after them. Ratsimamanga
served as his country’s ambassador to France in the 1960s and early
“St Lawrence’s College has always been a pride and symbol of Anglicanism in Madagascar,” Bishop Samoela Jaona Ranarivelo told ACNS.
“For many years, it has been ranked among the best denominational
schools in the capital as well as in the whole country. But it has
gradually declined since the two fires that struck it in 2005.”
Bishop Samoela said that the diocesan standing committee has now set
new priorities for the college paving the way for a stable future, “but
these require investment, personal commitment and good resource
management,” he said.
The new plan envisages a stable financial resource for the college.
This will allow it to improve the performance of the college and
increase student numbers.
The plan anticipates that the school’s
finances could be put on a secure footing after two or three school
But to get started it needs a cash injection of $30,000 USD (approximately £23,850 GBP) and has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise it. In the long-term it is looking to build rental accommodation in the school’s grounds to produce income.
Antananarivo is the largest of the Anglican dioceses in Madagascar
and the Province of the Indian Ocean. It has 200,000 baptised members.
“As being the only diocesan school within the diocese of
Antananarivo, St Lawrence’s College embodies the Anglican identity and
the commitment of the Church to the mission of God, striving to respond
to its social vocation,” Bishop Samoela said. The diocese’s plans for
the school will create “a new and safe space for our generation today,
in sharing the love of Christ and bringing a renewed hope for our
nation,” he said. “St Lawrence’s College continues to pay particular
attention to certain disadvantaged students, but who show high potential
for success in their studies.”
St Lawrence’s College is a general education institution serving
pupils from three years old, in pre-primary classes, through to teenage
years with students studying for Baccalaureates.