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The girl who plays with stones

Soazy, known as San, comes from the south of Madagascar. She has been living in a truck dump, right next to the new Ecole des Petits Géants, for three years.

She and her parents and 7 of her 11 siblings live in a one-room shack. Four children have stayed in the south with aunts and uncles.

Her father is a landfill attendant, her mother is a homemaker.

San is 9 years old. But until last week, she was not in school... Since the construction of the school began, her mother has dreamed of seeing her little girl learn to read and write. She heard that it would be "a school for people like them..." and she was one of the first mothers to line up to enrol her daughter and her 7-year-old son.

San will be the oldest in the first grade class and Monja one of the oldest in the kindergarten.

San is very proud to have an apron and to go to school. She loves to sing and can already count to 50. A solitary girl, she likes to play "tantara vato", literally "story of pebbles". It is the favourite game of Malagasy children. The stones are dolls or other extraordinary toys that these young children do not have. San moves his pebbles, bangs them against each other, makes them talk and invents an imaginary world...


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