For a dedicated student in Madagascar, a RISE scholarship sets a path to success

September 22, 2020
Mahazomana Evens (Photo: Pact)

Mahazomana Evens grew up in a large, modest family in the village of Mitriaky, in Fort Dauphin, near the southern tip of Madagascar. His mother and father farmed and fished to support their eight children until both parents died unexpectedly. It seemed unlikely that staying in school would be possible for Mahazomana, but with the support of his older brothers, he managed to continue his studies.

His dedication to education made him just the kind of student that Pact supports through its RISE+ scholarship program for youth in Madagascar. The scholarships are funded by Rio Tinto, a global mining and metals company. When it was time for him to move on to college, Mahazomana applied for a RISE university scholarship. It allowed him to attend Institut Superieur de la Technologie de l'Anosy in Fort Dauphin, where he studied geology. For the next three years, his scholarship continued, until he earned his degree in 2017.

It was just the foundation he needed to find success as an entrepreneur. After graduation, Mahazomana and his brother started a nursery business called Fandresena, or Victory, selling young plants. An incubation center for small businesses in Fort Dauphin provided the brothers with training and mentorship for two years, helping them to formalize and strengthen their business.

Last year, Fandresena marked a significant milestone when Mahazomana and his brother signed a contract with Rio Tinto to ecologically rehabilitate land at former mine sites in Fort Dauphin’s Mandena area. Today, their business is thriving. 

“Always aim for excellence,” Mahazomana says. “Success will not come to you. You have to stand up and find it.”