‘There’s nowhere else in the world quite like it’ – the age-old cliché was surely penned for Madagascar.
The vast country that separated from the African mainland and drifted out into the Indian Ocean 165 million years ago, enabling Madagascar to undergo a totally unique course of natural history. The island’s bountiful resources and balmy climate let life flourish but its utter isolation allowed evolution to get to work uninterrupted, producing a staggering variety of weird and wonderful wildlife found nowhere else in the world. An astonishing 80% of Madagascar’s flora and fauna is endemic, equipping the country to take pride of place at the top of every wildlife-lover’s bucket list.
But while rich in natural biodiversity, Madagascar and the Malagasy people struggle with extreme poverty, lack of access to medical support and healthcare, limited education and rapid biodiversity loss as population growth puts ever-increasing pressure on the remaining patches of rainforest, dry forest, scrublands and wetlands.
Since 1986, the team of trustees and volunteers of Money for Madagascar has worked tirelessly to tackle some of the fundamental social and economic difficulties that face the island. MFM work within the country – aiming to identify and fund local solutions that enable the Malagasy people to take control of their situations, and engineer their own brighter future.
Food, education and medical care are available to over 1,000 street children a year thanks to drop-in centres funded by Money for Madagascar in Antananarivo and 95 functioning classrooms have been set up across the country. Volunteers work with local communities to source vocational training for vulnerable women, girls and single mothers, helping them to support themselves and generate their own sustainable income.
Some of the funds raised by Money for Madagascar help establish start-up businesses to enable families to escape the poverty trap. MFM is also proud to be one of the only organisations to set up specialist education and care facilities for young people with disabilities as the state provides no support. Cyclone-relief and area regeneration after a natural disaster are also projects which receive help from their diligent fundraising. Additionally, in more than 73 villages, trust volunteers aid reforestation projects, establish strengthened food security and organise environmental education designed to support communities in a way that also canonises protection of the surrounding habitats.