Founded in 2009, the French association Helpsimus has set itself the goal of protecting the greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus) in Madagascar through the Bamboo Lemur programme, which combines scientific monitoring of the species, protection of its habitat and development aid for villages bordering groups of greater bamboo lemurs. As part of this scientific programme, Helpsimus has made education its priority.

Helpsimus provides funding for the education of children in five fokontany (= the smallest administrative subdivisions in Madagascar) located in the immediate vicinity of the greater bamboo lemurs’ habitat, in the rural commune of Tsaratanana. In these remote rural areas, people live below the extreme poverty line and practise subsistence farming. During the “lean” period between the end of the consumption of the previous harvest and the next harvest, when malnutrition is at its highest, school absenteeism increases considerably. Children have to work to help their parents, or can’t get to school because they don’t have balanced meals. Against this backdrop, Helpsimus opened its first canteen in 2016 to serve daily meals to village children during the lean period, followed by a second in 2020. Today, the association manages five schools, four of which have been supported by the Bel Foundation.

The support of the Bel Foundation in 2022 will provide the means to build kitchens and refectories and make them safe, guaranteeing daily meals for pupils in the region.

What are the project’s expected results?

In total, 440 primary school pupils will have access to one meal per day throughout the school year and at the Simus school during environmental education activities.