Sunday, 11 December 2011

A day to remember!

On November the 12th trustees, patrons and partners of Money for Madagascar were joined by hundreds of supporters to celebrate the charity's 25th birthday. 
The event, took place at Union Chapel, Islington and began with a morning of exhibitions and speeches by beneficiaries, patrons and fundraisers, followed by a scrumptious Malagasy meal.
Patron, and world-renowned expert on the history and culture of Madagascar, Sir Mervyn Brown made a fascinating, moving and humorous speech celebrating 25 years of MfM's work before joining with long-term Money for Madagascar partner Yvette Rabemila to cut one of two cakes cooked to perfection by Julie Verney, our Co-ordinator's sister.
Once the delicious cake had been demolished, guests were treated to a magical afternoon of Malagasy music performed by inspirational Malagasy singer-songwriter Nogabe Randriaharimalala and his band of international musicians. In addition to performing many spellbinding songs about his home country Nogabe also unveiled a song inspired by and featuring the work of Akany Avoko, a Children's home supported by MfM for many years. Appropriately enough, this inspired spontaneous dancing in the aisles by some very young children - to the great delight of the audience.
In addition to being a wonderful celebration of many years of hard work, partnership, generosity and positive change, the event also helped raise much needed funds to support ongoing and future development projects on the Red Island. 

Money for Madagascar are incredibly thankful to all the guests, supporters, patrons, beneficiaries and performers who worked together to make the day such a huge success. We would also like to offer our deepest gratitude to both the Grown Up Chocolate Company who made the event possible and Mad Flavours who were responsible for preparing the hundreds of incredible Malagasy meals eaten on the day.  Our thanks also go out to the staff of Union Chapel who, through their hard work, courtesy and initiative, ensured that the day ran smoothly and safely.

We enjoyed the day so much we're already starting to think about our 50th anniversary. Although coming up with  a way to top the excitement, warmth and sheer fun of our 25th birthday party may well take us a good few years to achieve!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Recognition for Theresa

Monday the 17th of October saw the Annual Women of the Year Lunch take place at the InterContinental Hotel in London. For 56 years this ceremony has celebrated the contribution of "exceptional women who have each proved an inspiration to others through their courage, selflessness and dedication." 
MfM Coordinator and "Women of the Year" Invitee Theresa Haine
This year the ceremony had an extra-special significance for all of us here at Money for Madagascar because, rubbing shoulders with luminaries such as Maureen Lipman, Sandi Toksvig, Bianca Jagger, Esther Rantzen, Sue MacGregor, Juliet Stevenson, Shirley Williams, Joanna Trollope and Lulu, was our very own Coordinator Theresa Haine.

Theresa declared herself "moved, honoured and rather overwhelmed" to find herself among the select group of extra-ordinary women from around the UK whose achievements and contribution to the community were celebrated during a heart-warming, inspiring and emotional ceremony.

Theresa (far left)  with some of her fellow "Women of the Year"
Invited in recognition of more than two decades of work supporting vulnerable people and communities in Madagascar, Theresa was proud to attend on behalf of the many inspirational people who have helped raise funds for Money for Madagascar through the years. She also followed in the footsteps of her mother who herself was a past invitee to the  "Women of the Year"  Lunch in recognition of her work during the Second World War.

Having hugely enjoyed the touching and at times extremely humorous contributions of the guest speakers and shared a table with a number of cast members of the Archers, Theresa's highlight of the day was the attendance of suffragette Hettie Dorlan who was honoured at the ceremony. Theresa takes up the story: "Hettie, who is now 106 years old, was out in Trafalgar Square demonstrating for peace last month! She got a prolonged standing ovation and was presented with a huge basket of flowers.  I just felt it was a privilege to be in the same room as her."

Theresa at the awards.
Speaking of the ceremony, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, President of the Women of the Year, said: “The magic of this event is that it does what no other awards ceremony manages to do. It brings together the most fabulous women from the widest range of geographical, social, ethnic and political backgrounds – from the very well-known to unsung heroines doing outstanding work in their community... Their achievements, dedication and passion are an inspiration to women everywhere, encouraging us all to fulfill our ambitions, support others and stand up for what we believe in.”

All of us here at Money for Madagascar take great pleasure in congratulating Theresa and also offering our heartfelt thanks to the many friends, donors and  supporters whose kindness and dedication has helped achieve so much. 

Friday, 7 October 2011

Turning miles into smiles

Throughout our 25th anniversary year supporters of Money for Madagascar have run, cycled, waded and hiked hundreds of miles to raise thousands of pounds for people and communities half a world away. So busy has this blog been following their exploits that we've barely had time to stop for breath and focus on what the hard work of our irrepressible supporters has made possible.
Vulnerable young women enjoying a chance to learn new skills thanks to the hard work of MfM supporters
For many years Money for Madagascar has supported the work of "The Sisters of the Good Shepherd" in Antananarivo. These inspirational women offer support, education and care to some of the hundreds of homeless and destitute people who struggle to scrape a living on the streets of Antananarivo. Having spent years helping children and families the Sisters have long wished to expand their activities to offer hope and new opportunities to the many impoverished and homeless young women of Antananarivo who, lacking a basic education and career prospects, face a stark choice between starvation, crime or prostitution.

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Creedon Brothers and MfM Patron, Hilary Bradt, this month sees the launch of a programme of vocational training aimed at providing the vital career skills needed to begin lifting vulnerable young women between the ages of 14 and 16 out of poverty. Thanks to blood, sweat and tears of Andrew, Jonathan and Hilary and the amazing generosity of those who sponsored them, this week forty teenage girls have started a programme of education which will boost their skills and confidence and ultimately, we hope, lead them into paying employment and stable, happy futures.

As well as learning traditional skills such as dress-making and catering, participants in the course will also study Information Technology and receive coaching and counselling to help give them the best possible chance once they enter the labour market.
On hearing the news that enough money had now been raised to begin this long wished-for programme Sister Annamma, head of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, wrote to us to say "On behalf of all the team here, thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for this good news. We will make sure we keep you up to date with all our progress. A thousand thanks for your generosity and kindness".
A delighted Sister Annamma, head of the Centre Fihavanana, home of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
This vocational training programme will continue for three years and help change the lives of eighty homeless and destitute young women who would otherwise have faced harsh futures of deprivation, crime or worse. We hope that Andrew, Jonathan, Hilary and the many friends, family and colleagues who supported them share our joy in giving some of the world's most vulnerable young people a chance to escape poverty and, for the first time in their lives, begin to have hope for the future.

Of course Hilary and the Creedon Brothers were not the only heroes to have sacrificed their soles (or saddles) on behalf of the people of Madagascar this year. Stay tuned to the blog to hear more news of how the Olympian efforts of other supporters have helped change lives in Madagascar.

STOP PRESS: Not content with having run the London 10k and hurled herself out of an aeroplane so far this year MFM patron Hilary Bradt will be running the Great South Run on October the 30th. Please visit if you haven't already!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Extreme Commuting!

Jonathan and Andrew Creedon
Matt Townend and his "Chain Gang" weren't the only bonkers bikers putting their bodies on the line for Money for Madagascar over August Bank Holiday Weekend. On the 26th of August brothers Andrew and Jonathan Creedon embarked on an epic commute from Andrew's London Office to his home, 270 miles away in Liverpool, by bicycle!

Andrew and Jonathan set off from Andrew's London Office
Over the course of three days the Creedon brothers clocked up over 25 hours in the saddle, burned off 8,700 calories, battled daunting headwinds, and, en route, raised more than £2000 for vulnerable people and communities in Madagascar!

The dynamic duo reach the home straight
With a total of £2286 raised to date, an impressive 91% of their overall target, Andrew said ‘I am really pleased with amount we have raised, Ecclesiastical have contributed £500 towards the total and this has made a real difference. Money for Madagascar is a small charity that predominantly helps children in Madagascar in terms of providing funds for Schools, health and other support. All the money that goes to this charity gets spent in Madagascar with next to nothing going on admin expenses.'

If you would like to reward Andrew and Jonathan's Herculean efforts by sponsoring them then please visit the Just Giving website: and make a donation.
Money for Madagascar would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to Andrew, Jonathan and the many friends and family who helped make their expedition such a success. Your donations will make a world of difference to some of the poorest people and most precious natrual habitats in the world.

Several of our recent blog-posts have focused on the incredible fundraising efforts of supporters like the Creedon Brothers. Stay tuned for our next article that will feature the individuals and communities in Madagascar whose lives will be changed by the money raised.

Friday, 9 September 2011

874 Miles for Madagascar!

We are delighted to report that Matt Townend has successfully completed his sponsored cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.  Matt set off with his two companions, Tom Firth and Dan McLachlan on Saturday 27th August and arrived, drenched from two hours of driving rain at 6.45pm on Saturday 3rd September.
Dan and team set off from Land's End
874 miles in 8 days is a remarkable and extremely punishing pace. Matt was surprised when ‘The Chaingang’,  as they called themselves,   finally arrived to be told that 8 days was very unusual and that most did it in 10 !!  More respect and admiration all round!
"Gruelling" hardly begins to cover it...
The trio’s diary, written a few days after arriving in rain-soaked John O’Groats gives a hint of the pain and discomfort of the ride as well as the great sense of camaraderie that developed:

"Days have passed since we finally touched the sodden, lonely turf of John O' Groats - days of locomotion without the need for pedals, and seats with more substance than a cattle grid. We can still feel the chinstrap of our helmets burrowing into our throats, and perambulation remains an uncomfortable experience…….
All in all the experience was unique: eight superb days of camaraderie and hilarity tempered with healthy doses of reality, brutality and sheer exhaustion. Unimaginable before mastered and unmissable now it's done."

Yet another puncture
En route the trio had to face many challenges including infuriatingly frequent punctures, broken gears, buckled wheels, tender knees and a very sore Achilles’ heel. On the final day in the Highlands one of the team’s derailleur gears broke and had to be removed, leaving him to cycle in one fixed gear for 12 miles until rescued by a highland bike mechanic called Wim. He was, as they say, ‘a legend’. With a completely new bike they set off for a final assault on the last 90 miles. Despite an evil coastal headwind, lashing rain and some massive hills they reached John O’Groats within six and a half hours.

Our hearty congratulations and thanks to Matt for completing his amazing feat and for donation half his sponsorship to Money for Madagascar.  It’s not too late to add to Matt’s sponsorship. You can still donate on-line at:

Matt and his trumphant team-mates

Stay posted to the Money for Madagascar blog for news of the intrepid Creedon Brothers who have also been putting their legs (and saddles) on the line to raise money for vulnerable people and habitats in Madagascar in their own cycle challenge.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Blazing saddles!

Matt Townend
This August Bank Holiday the Creedon brothers will not be the only intrepid cyclists hitting the roads in support of MfM. On the same weekend Matt Townend and friends will be embarking on an epic 8-day cycle from Land's End in Cornwall to John O'Groats in the Scottish Highlands to raise money to support destitute children and families in Madagascar.

As Matt, seen below warming up on one of London's ubiquitous "Boris Bikes", observes, this long-distance challenge "is the equivalent of doing the London to Brighton Bike ride twice a day for 8 days straight. And we'll be carrying all our stuff. So i'm pretty sure it'll hurt.". We here at MfM have no doubt that he's right - just the thought of 874 miles on the road is enough to make us saddle-sore. Luckily, come Bank Holiday weekend, Matt will have swapped his Boris Bike for something a little better suited to long-distance cycling.

Are you sure that's appropriate clothing for an 874 mile cycle ride? Matt warms up on a Boris Bike.
Please help make Matt's punishing two-wheel trial worthwhile by visiting his JustGiving site and sponsoring him. All proceeds will go to support sustainable, community-led development projects in Madagascar.

Watch this space for more news of Matt and his team.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A heartwarming yarn...

A few weeks back we shared with you the story of Franck, a young man whose life-saving surgery was paid for thanks to the efforts of nimble-fingered Money for Madagascar supporters and their exotic woolly creations.
This lemur changes lives!
 For several years this group of unsung heroes have worked tirelessly to produce and sell knitted Lemurs on behalf of Money for Madagascar. Proceeds from sales of these beautiful items have then been used to fund critical operations for some of Madagascar’s poorest and most vulnerable children and young people. 

The Surgery Fund was born in 2006 when a generous MfM donor funded an operation to correct the
The first beneficiary of the Surgery Fund
cleft palate of a baby from a very poor family that had come to the notice of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Antananarivo. The following year the Hotter Shoe Company sponsored Alan Dart to create a knitting pattern of a ring-tailed lemur which is exclusive to Money for Madagascar. Soft toys made from this pattern are now sold and form the main source of income for the Surgery Fund. This enables us to fund one or two urgent operations per year for needy children from the Sisters’ social centre in the capital. For the most part we fund operations for such things as cleft palate or hydrocephalus (water on the brain) for young children but, as our previous blog entry details, the most recent operation was on a 23 year old ex-street child who was rushed into hospital with acute appendicitis and had no means of paying for treatment.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Creedon brothers Cycle Challenge

On the 27th of August Andrew and Jonny Creedon will embark on a cycling challenge to raise money for MfM. They plan to cycle from work to home, which may not sound too hard except that Andrew works in the City of London and lives in 270miles away in Liverpool! They hope to complete the challenge in 3 days. Good luck guys, I hope you’ve got well padded saddles!
To support these inCREEDable cyclists please follow the link to their fundraising page:

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

News from Madagascar

Life-saving surgery for Franck...
We’ve got the lemur knitters to thank!

This young man was recently rushed into hospital with a hernia and acute appendicitis. Thanks to ‘The Sisters’ Surgery Fund’ Franck received life-saving surgery. He has just completed his treatment.

His mother was so relieved to see her son alive and well again. This is a translation of what she wrote to us:

“Bonjour, I am the mother of Tafitasoa Franck. I am so grateful for your help. My son's operation was successful and he is recovering well. His treatment finished at the end of July. A thousand thank yous. The money you sent has saved my son’s life. God bless and protect you!”

Soon we’ll be going behind the scenes to meet the quick-fingered, big-hearted knitters in the UK who fund surgery for Malagasy street kids, through the sale of knitted lemurs.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Welcome MfM supporters!

Do you want to hear the latest news from our Madagascar projects?
Would you like to share in our 25th Anniversary events?

Then welcome to the MfM blog. Now you are here, why not have a look around! As well as following our news features, why not find out what’s coming next on our Events page? If you can’t make it to our events, but want to be part of MfM’s celebrations, check out our Useful Resources page. We hope it might inspire you to tell a friend about MfM or even run an event of your own.
Whether you can swim 25 lengths or eat 25 cakes, please join in the fun and help make this an extra special year for the poorest of Madagascar.

A grand day for projects in Madagascar

Well done Hilary and team, for raising over a £1000 on Sunday in the London 10K. Your sweat and pain was not in vain. A grand will go a long way to help lift Malagasy people out of desperate poverty. Keep an eye on the blog to hear how the money is spent!

Shortly after catching her breath, Hilary described the experience.


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

They came from the streets, the fields and the classrooms..

MfM Trustee Martin Wilkinson has just spent a month visiting projects across the length and breadth of the Madagascar. On Martin's final day MfM Partners gathered together from across the Island, joining him to celebrate 25 years of MfM.
MfM is not renowned for throwing parties! On the contrary they pride themselves on their no-frills approach to development work, ensuring that every last penny reaches the people in greatest need. But when Akany Avoko Children’s Home offered to host a party to say thank you to MfM everyone was delighted.

Leaving behind for one evening their special needs school, homelessness projects, training programmes, primary schools, farmers and forests, representatives from large and small NGOs alike gathered for a rare opportunity to relax, exchange ideas and celebrate their achievements.
Martin, clearly touched by the event, shares his experience with us…

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Music for Madagascar

Stars of the show (left to right):

David Galvani, wife of the Deputy Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Tse, Bernadette King, Luca Galvani, Marco Galvani.

On 11th June the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead echoed to the wonderful sound of music in a concert given by MfM Trustees, Supporters and Malagasy Partners.

The evening swung into song with Trustee Bernadette King, and her accompanist David Galvani performing Schubert songs, which provoked prolonged and enthusiastic applause from the audience. The second half of the concert included three pieces composed by David’s son Marco. David's younger son, Luca, also delighted the audience with his beautiful performance on the flute. Thank you boys – you surely have a great musical future !

The concert was brought to a rousing conclusion with some Malagasy piano music performed by our Partner Rahajary Tsialinarivo (a.k.a. Tse), who is the director of our Malagasy Partner NGO 'SAF'.

The evening ended with a five star buffet and a competition to guess the weight of Bernadette’s pet pig. A thoroughly good time was had by all and well over £1,000 was raised for MfM’s work in Madagascar, which is now the third poorest country on earth.

With sincerest thanks to all who made the event a great success,
Theresa Haine , Co-ordinator of MfM

Check out our 'Events' page to find out what's coming up next. Could this be your chance to get a free Bradt Guide to Madagascar?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Ain't No Mountain High Enough...

One of the 25 summits Laura reached in support of MfM

Regular readers will remember intrepid MfM supporter Laura Sewell's plan to embark on a Lake District 25 peak challenge to celebrate Money for Madagascar's 25th anniversary.

Well, after summiting 25 peaks and covering more than 50 kilometres in just two days, Laura returned home, in one piece, and emailed us just a few days ago.
Laura's semi-conscious colleagues were too exhausted to complain as they were manhandled into a rudimentary "25"...
Despite "crazy" weather conditions and a punishing schedule, Laura successfully completed her challenge, raising more than £650 for sustainable community-lead projects in Madagascar.

Laura hopes to take the total beyond £1000 so please visit her Just Giving page at: to make a secure Gift-Aided donation.
Our hero...

Our work in pictures

Hot off the press this week is "Madagascar, our work in pictures", a multimedia presentation exploring the work of Money for Madagascar and celebrating the achievements made possible by your financial support and the tenacity and expertise of our Malagasy partners.

View the two-part video here:
Part 1

Part 2

Or on Youtube:

The video, compiled and edited by trustee Chris Sewell, is voiced by none other than his daughter, the intrepid Laura Sewell who, as we speak, is recovering from a sponsored 25 peak challenge in support of Money for Madagascar (more on that to come!).

We hope you enjoy it and please feel free to share the Youtube links with anyone you feel might be interested in our work. Alternatively, if you would like a DVD version posting to you then please contact

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Britain and Madagascar just got a bit closer!

This week the British Foreign Office announced its intention to open a new British Embassy in Madagascar. This is fantastic news for Brit's thinking of visiting, volunteering or doing business in Madagascar. It is also good news for our Malagasy friends who wish to visit the UK, as they will be able to apply for their visas in Madagascar. To read the announcement in ‘The Independent’ see:

If you are in the mood to celebrate Anglo-Malagasy relations, as well as the Money for Madagascar concerts in June and November, the Anglo Malagasy Society is also having a party! to celebrate 51 years of Malagasy Independence and 50 years of the Anglo-Malagasy Society the AMS is holding a big party in London on the 26th of June. There will be food, dancing and the launch of the new album of acclaimed Malagasy acoustic guitarist Modeste. The event will also include a charity auction, which will benefit Malagasy charities such as Money for Madagascar. For more info see the AMS website

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

25 Peaks for 25 Years!

Our 25 peak hero - Laura Sewell
In 2008 and 2009 Money for Madagascar supporter Laura Sewell travelled thousands of miles to work as a volunteer at Akany Avoko, a children's home near to Antananarivo supported by Money for Madagascar.

As if this weren't enough she has now decided to help celebrate our 25th anniversary year by setting herself another incredible challenge. On the weekend of the 28th and 29th of May Laura will be taking part in a sponsored 25 peak hiking challenge in the Lake District. That's one peak for every year of our existence - and all within the space of one weekend.

Please support her by making a secure donation, at Whether it be 10p or £10 per peak, every little helps!

I'm sure you'll join us in wishing her the very best of luck for what will be an extremely demanding 48 hours. Go for it Laura!!!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Save the date!

Money for Madagascar Celebrations are stepping up!

If you can't make the concert in Birkenhead next month then don't miss our celebrations at the Union Chapel in Islington, London on Saturday the 12th of November 2011.

The day will have something for everyone: Malagasy crafts and stalls, a presentation about the inspirational work of the charity, a delicious Malagasy meal and a live concert from the renowned Malagasy musician, 'Nogabe'.

So tell all your friends to save the date and join us to celebrate!

There will be a choice or 2 tickets to purchase, either an all-day ticket which includes the meal, or a ticket exclusively for the Nogabe concert.

Details of where to buy tickets will be coming soon...

Friday, 22 April 2011

Celebration in Swansea

On Saturday 16th April about sixty MfM friends and supporters sat down for a meal in celebration of 25 years of work in Madagascar. 

The Malagasy first course (a choice of coconut chicken with green peppercorns, pork meatballs with ginger and garlic and a tasty bean casserole) was very popular, and the wonderful Welsh desserts brought oohs and aahs from everyone.  

The Mayor and Mayoress of Swansea came and we discovered that the mayor’s father had spent some time in Madagascar after the second world war working as a doctor !   

This picture shows the Mayor with Hilary Bradt, a very generous and supportive patron, and Barbara Prys-Williams who dreamed up MfM in Swansea 25 years ago.

With crafts to buy and exhibitions to look at, there were no dull moments and a thoroughly good time was had by all.  Very many thanks to all who gave so unstintingly of their help.

Further 25th birthday celebrations are planned throughout 2011 to which you are cordially invited- please visit our Events page to learn more.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Hand-washing Malagasy style

A few years ago MfM gave some money for cyclone relief in an area of the central highlands where a particularly bad cyclone had flooded all the ricefields and ruined the rice crop.  There was great concern that the children were in danger of becoming seriously malnourished so part of the money was spent on a feeding programme at three remote primary schools.  The rest went on seed potatoes which their parents could grow on the hillsides out of danger of the floods. 

Children use an improvised handwashing contraption
We arrived at the first school just as the children were getting ready for their lunch.  There is no water supply to the school so the older children fetched some in buckets from the well which was some distance away.  They then filled half a dozen empty plastic bottles. These had holes drilled in the lids and were attached to a plank. One child squeezed gently while another washed their hands in the fine spray of water that came out.  Some 300 children washed their hands by this method in a very short time.  I fear that British children would be more likely to use the bottles as water pistols, unlike the Malagasy children who were impeccably well behaved! The ingenuity shown by this school in creating an innovative solution using receycled materials is typical of what we see in communities across Madagascar in the course of our work.

Pupils at Akany Avoko primary school.
In a country where diarrhoeal diseases are responsible for almost 10% of all deaths providing access to clean water is a vital part of our work. In addition to building or improving wells Money for Madagascar has also sent funds to enable Akany Avoko Children's Home to construct a rainwater capture and storage system to enable students at its primary school to wash their hands in clean, fresh water. 
All of the projects that Money for Madagascar funds depend on local resourcefulness and ingenuity for their success. Your support enables us to back the Malagasy people in finding small-scale solutions to the big problems facing the country, its wildlife and people.

Happy birthday to us!!

This year Money for Madagascar celebrates its 25th birthday. That's 25 years of funding ingenious, driven, Malagasy people to solve the problems that their communities face.
Our 25th birthday seems like a great excuse for a party (or three!!)
 We have a number of events planned to celebrate our 25th anniversary year, please visit our Events page for the latest details.

Please join us at one or more of them to learn more about our work and of course to enjoy a great party!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Welcome (or "Tonga Soa!") to "Madagascar Matters", the blog of UK registered charity Money for Madagascar

Every week we will use this blog to bring you updates from our projects, news from Madagascar and the stories and experiences of our development partners and supporters. 

Visit as often as you can for all the latest from the Red Island.