Thursday, 13 December 2012

Live and Clicking!


The new Money for Madagascar website is now ready for you to enjoy. 

After perusing presents in the on-line shop we hope you will enjoy discovering more about how we use your donations in Madagascar.

So have a click, and see what you can find! 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Support Development in Madagascar whilst you shop!


Supporting a charity whilst Christmas shopping is only a mouse-click away...


Christmas is one of the busiest times for shoppers and shopkeepers alike as we search for those special presents for our loved ones. Increasingly online shopping is being used for quick and convenient ordering without having to leave the house.
Christmas is also a busy time for fundraisers like Money for Madagascar as we try to tap into the Christmas spirit with sales of Christmas cards and calendars, and appeals for special projects through donations and Alternative gifts.  Much of this is also done online. 

Recently several schemes have been set up to help shoppers raise money for their favourite charities simply by shopping online. It's simple, thousands of stores have signed up to donate a percentage of every online purchase to charity - at no cost to the shopper.

For every purchase that you make a small % goes to your named charity. It’s amazing how quickly you can build up quite a donation to your favoured charity. Have you thought of supporting Money for Madagascar in this way?

Online shopping is now a part of everyday life. We aren’t trying to promote online shopping over local shops because, as we know from our work in Madagascar, it’s also important to support local enterprise.  However, many small shops and enterprises also rely on online sales for much of their business.  So if you already shop online for such things as your weekly shop, presents, clothing, DVDs, electrical and domestic goods why not turn your normal purchases into a fundraising activity at the same time? 

By nominating your favoured charity from over 200,000 charities you can donate with every purchase you make - at no additional cost to you. We would be very grateful if you would help us to raise funds by shopping for Money for Madagascar.
Two companies that our supporters already use are:


Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Don't Panic!

The 30th of November sees tireless fundraisers (and previous cover stars of this very blog!) Lancaster’s “Millennium Choir” premier their latest production “Eight Songs for Everyday Emergencies” in support of Akany Avoko Children’s Shelter in Madagascar.



Ever wondered how to perform a tracheotomy? Or land a plane? The Millennium Choir will tell you how, along with other survival tips, in their own unique way. They'll even solve the banking crisis - now surely that's worth a small £7 investment?!

With support from Take Three jazz trio and Bivocal banjo/piano accordion duo the event, at the Gregson Community Centre, Lancaster, will also feature a craft stall selling Malagasy crafts in support of MfM-sponsored projects.

Composer Andy Whitfield and The Millennium Choir in action

Tickets are £7/£5 on the door so “tongava maro” (come in large numbers) as they say in Madagascar and enjoy a fantastic evening’s entertainment, support a worthy Malagasy cause, and pick up some priceless survival tips into the bargain!

Visit the event’s facebook page here: www.facebook.com/events/450573721661594 to learn more...

or visit The Gregson Community Centre's website: www.gregson.co.uk for more details of the venue and how to get there.

Email irenee@moneyformadagascar.org with any other questions - we look forward to seeing you there!





Monday, 5 November 2012

Back to school - with your help!

Access to education is a right denied to thousands of Malagasy children, none more so than those living in remote rural areas. 
Local dignitaries cut the ribbon to open the latest MfM-funded school in rural Madagascar
August saw the inauguration of the a new MFM-funded school in the rural Commune of Maritampona. This star-studded (by rural Malagasy standards!) event was attended by one of Money for Madagascar's most trusted development partners - Mr Martin Ravelomanantsoa (Director of Association ALF), who had overseen the construction project, along with a host of dignitaries including the Head of the Region. But of course the most important VIP's in attendance were the 275 excited schoolchildren whose lives will be changed by the new facility. 

The real VIP's of the inauguration - the dozens of schoolchildren whose lives will be changed by this new facility.
In his speech the Head of Region praised the new 3-classroom facility that Money for Madagascar and ALF had delivered stating that "this  new building is going to help a lot, not just the children of our village but also the children of many neighbouring villages".

The primary school at  Ampihoaramaso is the latest in a long line of schools and classrooms built by our Malagasy partner organisations thanks solely to the kindness and generosity of Money for Madagascar's supporters. Without a decent education there is little hope that the children of rural Madagascar will ever escape the poverty trap and realise their full potential. 
Director of ALF and trusted MfM partner: Martin Ravelomanantsoa accepts the congratulations of the Head of Region. 
By working through local partner organisations Money for Madagascar also helps to ensure that the capacity to identify and prioritise needs, apply for funding and manage projects through to completion is encouraged and supported.  We believe that this approach will also help ensure that the ingenuity and energy of the inspirational people we work with helps the broadest number of beneficiaries possible.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Madagascar Bird Life Calendar Takes Off!


MfM has just launched its new Madagascar Birdlife Calendar 2013.  Made up of stunning photos donated by the wildlife photographer Mike Harrison, the calendar celebrates the beauty and diversity of Madagascar’s birdlife much of which, as with all the country’s flora and fauna, is endangered. 

Calendar Sneak Preview

Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher (Ispidina madagascariensis

A diminutive (15cm) Kingfisher endemic to the forests of Madagascar. 




The calendar also tells success stories from 26 years of Money for Madagascar’s work supporting low-cost, community led initiatives in the big red island.  The stories show the many ways in which MfM has made a radical difference to the lives of individuals, families and communities.


 Calendar Sneak Preview


Thanks to sponsorship, Malala has a loving home at Akany Avoko and enjoys fun and  stimulating lessons at La Source Special Needs School.



This is a unique calendar that will be treasured by anyone who loves wildlife – and particularly by birdwatchers. Please feel free to copy this to birdwatching friends – or perhaps put them on your Christmas list for a calendar! Calendars are £8.50 each inclusive of UK postage & packaging or £10 to be sent outside the UK. To order a calendar please send a cheque payable to ‘Money for Madagascar’ to Madagascar Calendars, 15 Kelly’s Drive, Oxford, OX331NT.  Alternatively you can order your calendars on-line from www.moneyformadagascar.org when our new shop goes live in November. 

 Legendary Birds of Madagascar

Tales of exotic and unique species of birds in Madagascar have been around for many centuries. In the thirteenth century Marco Polo described the giant rukh of enormous size with a wing span of thirty paces and the strength to lift an elephant. This is the stuff of folklore but there is a morsel of truth in the tale from the Arabian Nights of the great egg, as big as a house, found by Sinbad the Sailor which, when broken, brought fury and destruction to his ship.  Viewers of David Attenborough’s  ‘Zoo Quest’ will recall his discovery of hundreds of broken egg shells in a dry river bed in Madagascar’s south. Painstaking reconstruction showed them to be the remnants of the eggs of the flightless elephant bird, the Aepyornis.  Ostrich-like and up to ten feet tall, it was the heaviest bird ever to have lived.  
While folklore will have played its part in exaggerating the size and power of the Aepyornis, there is no doubt that the creature is now extinct. Not so with several of Madagascar’s birds today. Many, like the Madagascar Pochard, have been reported extinct only to be rediscovered in small numbers a few years later.  Several of the birds featured in the calendar are endangered and face a perilous future.
Money for Madagascar believes that a bright future awaits both the Malagasy people and the island’s rich bio-diversity if they can co-exist in harmony.  Our commitment is to strive, with your help, to make this a reality.  Each calendar sold will raise £3.50 towards changing lives and conserving biodiversity in Madagascar.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Way Out of Sex Trap


Today AllAfrica.com described how thousands of Malagasy girls are turning to sex-work to survive, with as many as 1 in 7 of the population working in the sex industry in the port town of Toamasina.

MfM runs training programmes for teenaged girls to give them an alternative to sex-work. Here girls receive food, medical care, academic education and vocational training.

 Our next big drive is to help girls to set up their own micro-entreprise so they can earn a decent living. It cost £50-£100 to set a girl up with the equipment she needs to run a business like renting solar lights, hairdressing, dressmaking, selling food, or renting out a phone. 

This skilled sewing student was awarded a machine to start a dress-making business with her family.

This week we were delighted to hear that MfM supporter Andy Whitfield was celebrating a Big Birthday. We were even more thrilled when he announced that he would like people to make donations to MfM in lieu of birthday presents! This wonderful gesture has raised enough money to fund new businesses for five destitute teenaged girls. What a brilliant birthday legacy!

Thank you!


If you missed the story about Andy's choir raising their voices for Akany Avoko scroll down to the post about 'Unsung Heroes'.

To learn more about the struggles of teenaged girls in Madagascar follow the link
  Sex for Survival

Friday, 24 August 2012


Money For Madagascar is proud to support the silk worm project of CIPALI, which helps subsistence farmers to generate income whilst restoring the rainforest. Follow the link below to hear Fullbright Catherine Craig's 20 minute lecture about her work with CIPALI.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Unsung Heroes


The bravest and most remarkable heroes of our work in Madagascar are the children who grasp hold of life and turn destitution into success. Like these students from the Akany Avoko primary school who have defied destitution and passed their Primary School Certificate exam this month. Their strength, ingenuity, determination and joy is inspiring. (All eleven students passed but only 5 are captured on photo.)

But in order to help such courageous people MfM needs another ingredient – money. You might think this is the dull and boring bit of the story. On the contrary! Let me take you behind the scenes to meet some of MfM’s unsung heroes, who show us that there can be joy and ingenuity in the raising of the money too.

The turn of the Millennium was a time of change and new hope. Least Developed nations like Madagascar prayed that campaigns like Jubilee 2000 might free them from the stranglehold of crippling debt. Meanwhile in Lancaster, UK composer Andy Whitfield gathered a merry band of singers to form the Lancaster Millenium Choir. But it wasn’t until 2004 that this Choir would become part of the Malagasy struggle against poverty.

As part of a teacher exchange between Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School and Akany Avoko Children’s Home Andy was invited to spend two weeks sharing songs with the delightful children of Akany Avoko. As Andy learned about the tragic stories behind the joyful faces of these children he was deeply moved. On return to the UK he composed the cantata ‘For Every Child’, based on the International Convention of Children’s Rights interwoven with quotes from the children at Akany Avoko.

Joining forces with primary schools and music ensembles the Millenium Choir
raised their voices to perform ‘For Every Child’ for the children of Akany Avoko. Soon concert halls, schools and churches across the North of England could be heard singing out for children’s rights and raising money to help restore them.


After 3 years of singing for the children of Akany Avoko Millenium Chorister Maggie Bremner decided to pack a bag and join them as a volunteer. A few months of cuddles, snotty noses and teaching toddlers to walk was enough to fuel Maggie and the choir to keep on singing for another five years, dedicating the profits of each concert to Akany Avoko.


This year’s fundraising events included ‘Frankenstein Sings’, carol singing at the Ingleborough Caves, a production of The Loan Ranger at the Gregson in Lancaster in May and an appearance at the Tongue Tribe Summer Concert in Kendal Town Hall in July.

 The Millennium Choir will always have a special connection with the children of Akany Avoko, but Andy recently agreed to extend their help to destitute children beyond the walls of Akany Avoko by supporting the new ‘Money for Madagascar Children’s Fund’. Whilst Akany Avoko is only large enough to care for 120 children, thousands more remain destitute and vulnerable on the streets of the capital. This fund is born out of the desire both of Akany Avoko and MfM to extend a lifesaving chance to more of these children. 

Funds raised now will help community centres to provide food, medical care and education to street kids starting classes in September.


MfM would be nothing without our joyful, steadfast fundraisers like
The Lancaster Millenium Choir. Your donations have transformed the lives of hundreds of children in Madagascar. THANK YOU!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A smashing time for children in Madagascar

Today on the BBC Luke Freeman wields a hammer in a Madagascar quarry as he discovers why Malagasy children must close their minds to the ‘smashing’ time they are having in the mines. To hear it now follow the link  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jwd5w#p00tz1kd


Luke exposes the harsh reality for children who must forego their education to work to feed themselves and their families. As poverty rises so to does child labour, with a shocking 30% of Malagasy children aged 5-14 now in work. However the need to earn money is not the only thing keeping Malagasy children out of school.
According to UNICEF The average Malagasy completes only 4.4 years of school” which is “a direct result of a lack of capacity: Madagascar does not have enough trained teachers and it does not have enough classrooms.”
 In our work with poor farming villages in Madagascar’s highlands, we have found parents that will make huge sacrifices to enable their children to go to school. This year we worked with four such isolated villages where children were unable to study for want of a classroom.
When the roof burned off the school at Ambatofangehana it really was the final straw!
 Kilometres away from the nearest road or town these forgotten villages have long stopped hoping for any help from the Malagasy Government. Instead the parents and teachers picked up their shovels and started to build their own schools. Seeing the commitment and determination of these communities to educate their children has inspired MfM to support them in their efforts.


Parents and teachers dig the foundations of Antanetilehibe Primary School
This year MfM has given over 500 children the chance to study in a safe, rain-proof environment by building 7 new classrooms and renovating 2 mud & thatch classrooms.
Children of Antanetilehibe check out their completed classrooms.
 Of course you can’t build a school with bricks and mortar alone and MfM is increasingly concerned with what happens inside and outside the classroom. This year we have launched a new teacher-training programme, which aims to inspire and inform teachers, equipping them to teach useful knowledge in a stimulating and relevant way. We are focussing on environmental education, which is highly relevant to Malagasy children. For Madagascar’s prized, acutely endangered eco-system to survive, young Malagasy people need to understand and care about it. And indeed for rural Malagasy children themselves to survive they will need to learn how to restore and protect their local environment before all fertility is lost from the land and there is no wood left to cook with.

No trees need to be felled to make
these charcoal pellets from clay and leaves


In the coming months our students will be taking a school trip to the Ranomafana rainforest, starting their own plant nurseries and learning how to cook without felling trees. In 2012 over 2000 children will benefit from this programme. We look forward to sharing some of their progress with you.






 Many thanks to our generous donors who have made this programme possible.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Cutting Edge News..



Sorry the Blog has been so quiet! If you’ve been wondering where we’ve been, the short answer in  - Madagascar!


I have just finished a fascinating month of visiting MfM projects across the Red Island . With the excited chatter of successes , frustrations and future plans still buzzing in my ears, I’m delighted to take time to pause and share the latest news with you. First up this week, the Tana street girls who will  blow you away.

Madagascar is ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for child poverty. For hundreds of children sleeping in the streets and slums of the capital, daily life is a harsh struggle for survival. For over a decade MfM has funded community centres like Centre Fihavanana, which offer food, safety and an education to hundreds of Tana’s destitute children.


Sister Annamma brings new hope to street kids

When I visited Sister Annamma in April I was touched to hear her describe her recent efforts to save one homeless family…
 “Homeless people are surprised that I come to the rubbish dump to talk with them. Life is so hard for people here now.” Sister Annamma recounted.
Striving to protect vulnerable girls
 “For months I have been talking to an alcoholic couple who sleep under a bridge. I have been very afraid for their young daughters who are so vulnerable, especially at night. I couldn't sleep at night thinking about what might happen to them. At last I have found an orphanage that will look after the girls until the parents can offer them a safe home. I am so relieved. Perhaps these girls will be saved. Already the parents are making an effort to sober up. Of course it is not easy. But we must not despair. Even if we can lift a few people out of misery it is worth it!” Concluded Sister Annamma.
 Not every child can be rescued and this can weigh heavily on your heart. But after sharing some of her sadness and frustrations the radiant smile returned to Sister Annamma’s face as she lead me enthusiastically to meet her students.

Destitute girls delight in the chance to study


 In October MfM was happy to sponsor the launch of a new training programme for vulnerable teenaged girls. So it was a delight for me to meet them and witness their enthusiasm. In addition to academic studies, catering and Information Technology, the girls have just begun a new course in hairdressing.

From the fringes of society

These girls will blow you away!

 Before coming to Centre Fihavanana these girls wandered the streets in search of food or money. Now they are delighted to have the chance to study and learn vocational skills like hairdressing. Each year at least 20 students should be ready for employment. With at least 80% of the population unemployed, the best option for most girls is to set up their own small enterprise.

Our next dream is to be able to provide each graduate with a small business start-up kit, so she can take her first vital step from destitution towards safety, dignity and independence.

Please get in touch if you want to help the Tana street girls. 


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A Trustee's Eye View...

One of the unique aspects of Money for Madagascar is the depth and breadth of experience that our team of trustees bring with them to our work. Every one of them has either lived and worked in Madagascar or boasts extensive experience of development work, sustainable living, conservation, business or management. 
Trustee Mike Cherry

This practical experience, cultural awareness and love for the Red Island and its people is critical to identifying the right projects to support and ensuring that our donor’s money is spent safely and effectively.

Here trustee Mike Cherry talks about an inspirational visit he made to and MfM funded conservation project in the Betampona reserve:

"Ever since I was a child I had Gerald Durrell influenced visions of Madagascar as a tree covered island with Lemurs and Aye Ayes in the bushes and flocks of amazing birds and insects floating overhead.

So when I was invited to visit Money for Madagascar projects in the late 1990’s I jumped at the chance and had a fantastic few weeks visiting various projects and meeting a number of amazing people. One of the highlights was the time that I spent with Mahefa and his team who worked around the Betampona reserve.

While chatting with Mahefa on our first evening near the Betampona Reserve with the crickets chirruping and the fireflies flitting and a distant slash and burn fire making its way up a hillside, he asked me what I did for a living and I explained that I was as a tree preservation officer and that people could be fined up £20,000 for each tree that they destroyed in a British city.

Slash and burn agriculture is devastating forests
Mahefa laughed and said ‘Even if you threatened people with a Kalashnikov you would not be able to control tree destruction here’.  This made me feel rather pessimistic about the future of the reserve.
MfM Partner Mahefa tends a tree nursery

However, over the next couple of days spent with Mahefa and his team, the impact of their ability to engage with the farmers and involving them in new farming techniques proved to be a much more potent and inspirational weapon than a Kalashnikov. To counter forest destruction a number of the farmers were developing small tree nurseries.

After this experience, how could I resist becoming more involved with Money for Madagascar?"

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Madagascar Cyclone Appeal




On the 14th of February 2012 cyclone Giovanna blasted into Brickaville on the East coast of Madagascar ripping down trees, schools, churches and homes as well as flattening electricity and phone lines in its wake.



Most cyclones fizzle out before reaching the capital Antananarivo, in the highlands of Madagascar.But not this time! As torrential rain flooded roads, homes and businesses..


.. and winds ripped at roofs

…there was little hope for the make-shift shelters which were home to Madagascar’s poorest people.

According to the Bureau National De Gestion Des Risques et des Catastrophe by the time Giovanna surged out to sea at Morondava it had killed 35 and injured 256 people and left 241,597 people homeless and disaster-stricken. The devastated country had hardly drawn breath when cyclone Irina struck on the 26th of February killing at least 72 people and rendering another 70,000 homeless.

Now is the time to help survivors to rebuild their lives. Our partners at Vonjy Voina SAF/FJKM are experienced in delivering disaster relief and reconstruction to Malagasy cyclone victims. So Money for Madagascar has launched an appeal to help them in this vital work. The more money we can raise the more people they can reach.

http://www.justgiving.com/Irenee-Rajaona-Horne

or the MfM website http://www.moneyformadagascar.org/english/howtod.htm

Thank you!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Madagascar Cyclone Appeal

















In response to Cyclone Giovanna which hit Madagascar on the 14th of February, Money for Madagascar has now launched an appeal to help the victims.

Now that electricity and phone lines are being restored we are receiving pleas for help from our trusted partners on the ground.

Watch this space for details very soon.

If you are keen to help now you can donate through our website. Many thanks from the MfM team.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Aye Aye!


Madagascar’s aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is the world’s largest nocturnal primate and probably the weirdest too. If you go out for a Malagasy moonlit stroll you are very unlikely to find one of these Near Threatened lemurs. So peculiar is their behaviour that it is hard to believe that they are distant relatives of ours! If you want to see them in action check out recent BBC films such as ‘Last Chance To See’, ‘Deadly 60’ or this clip from ‘Predators’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Aye-aye#p009yp79.The community conservation work of Money for Madagascar has inspired one of our supporters to write this ode to an Aye Aye.

The Finger











Can I really be looking
at a close cousin
sharing the same home planet?
More ET than aye-aye
rapidly
pecking
with its witchy middle digit
on a treetrunk in the dark,
pressing damp hairy snout
close to the bark
ready to sniff out
the grub, gnaw the rotten wood, insinuate
that dark, elongated
twig of a middle finger deep
along beetle tunnels till the tip
senses the cowering larva, impales
fat flesh on one horny nail
whips it out, pushes it
between thick
lips, rolls up its orange stare in ecstasy
so like that look of glee
with which George Melly
covering Bessie Smith
would dip his fingertip into an imaginary
jelly roll
or sugar bowl
then suck in bliss.
Had the ancients met the lemur
when they dubbed the middle finger
digitus impudicus?
had they been discomposed
by that same nocturnal glare
when they proposed
obscene gesture -
giving the bird, showing the fica -
as one way to avert
the evil eye (aye)?
had they ever supposed
one could feel pity for a maggot?

Thanks to Stevie Krayer for sending in her poem.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Can rice save the Madagascar forests?




In the Betampona forest of Madagascar our MfM team has been teaching SRI rice production for over a decade. Instead of cutting down rainforest to expand their rice fields, farmers have been able to feed their growing families by growing rice more intensively in the land that they have. Thanks to this new technique the farmers of Betampona are producing between 5 and 7 times more rice than they used to. At last they can enjoy improved food security (enough rice to eat!) without needing to slash down the forest and wipe-out endangered species. In addition MfM is helping farmers to diversify their crops so they can feed their families well throughout the whole year. Families in 73 villages surrounding this special forest reserve are now producing surplus crops like rice, vegetables, wood, honey, palm trees, coffee, fruit and spices, so they can generate cash to pay for medicines and education for their children.

5 years ago MfM's work in Betampona was recognised by the Malagasy Government as a 'model' project to be emulated across Madagascar. But progress has been slow. While the price of rice has doubled in the past 2 years, much has been left to humble NGOs working with scattered communities to try to help the Malagasy to grow enough rice to eat. But with the Malagasy Government making SRI rice production a 'priority' in 2011, could there be hope to bring improved food security to Malagasy people?

Friday, 20 January 2012

Silk moth rediscovered by SEPALI



The rediscovery of the Ceranchia silk moth brings a flutter of excitement to fledgling farmers in the North East of Madagascar





In 2011 MfM was delighted to team up with a Malagasy conservation and development NGO called SEPALI. Tapping into Madagascar’s rich heritage of silk weaving, SEPALI has launched a project to conserve forests and relieve rural poverty in the North East of Madagascar through the production of wild silk.

Madagascar suffers from acute poverty, environmental decimation with desperate suffering as a consequence. This project enables farmers to earn a living in an environmentally beneficial way. Silk cultivation is a win-win development project for both people and their environment, because in order to produce silk you need to plant trees and look after your local environment so that silk moths will thrive. By helping farmers living on the edge of a ‘Protected Area’ this project helps to preserve endangered species in 2 ways: Primarily, the cultivation of wild silk requires farmers to improve and protect their land and value the eco-system around them. Secondarily, farmers are less likely to need to encroach on the Protected Area if they have an alternative source of income.

So far 69 men and 57 women from 6 poor farming communities on the edge of the Makira Protected Area have each been given 250 indigenous trees to plant. Already 15,000 trees have been planted. In 2 years time these trees will become the host plants for the farmers’ silk worms. In between these trees farmers are planting vegetable crops to reduce predators on the silk moth larvae as well as providing much needed food for themselves. The results of this project will be: silk to sell, food to eat and a well cared-for local eco-system.

Of course the farmers aren’t just sitting around waiting for their trees to grow! As well as planting and tending their trees and crops, the farmers are making the equipment they will need for silk production, meeting to exchange ideas and train new farmers and even rediscovering a forgotten species of silk moth! The rediscovery of the Ceranchia silk moth by SEPALI in 2011 opens up potential for producing new silk products.


Meanwhile, in the US, project pioneer Dr Craig is exploring markets for SEPALI’s exotic new silk products including garments, furnishing and jewellery made from pressed silk cocoons.

With this dress made from pressed silk cocoons making it on to a New York catwalk this year, the SEPALI team is excited by potential new interest in their products.




We look forward to sharing more news from Makira as we follow the story of the farmers who are trying to improve their environment and their livelihoods with the help of indigenous silk moths.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Madagascar Golden Orb Spider proves spinning threads of gold is not just an old yarn.

Have you heard that the golden silk produced by over a million Malagasy Golden Orb Spiders has been woven into the most stunning spider-silk golden cape and 4 metre long shawl. It’s true! These unique spider-spun garments have just have just been revealed in an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The exquisite beauty of these intricately woven garments is a testament to the incredible skill of Madagascar’s finest weavers. Traditionally weaving ceremonial shawls or ‘lamba’ from raffia, cotton and silk, these highly skilled weavers have turned their hand to spiders’ silk with stunning effect.

Follow the link below to see the garments and hear an interview with ‘spidermen’ Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, the masters behind this fantastical project.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/today/hi/today/newsid_9677000/9677046.stm

If you’re intrigued by the ingenious silk producers of Madagascar, watch this space for our home-spun story from our new project in Makira - revealing the discoveries of the silk specialists of SEPALI .



Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Happy New Year! 'Tratry ny Taona 2012'



Looking back on 2011, Money for Madagascar would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who supported our anniversary year. Whether you ran, sang, cycled, ate, waded, knitted, danced or simply made a donation...thank you for joining in our big celebration of 25 years of helping the poorest people of Madagascar.
The money raised by these events has helped us to build new classrooms in Fianarantsoa, start a programme to feed and educate children in prison in Toamasina, launch a vocational training programme for vulnerable teenaged girls in Tana and fund a community conservation project in Melaky in addition to our on-going work protecting vulnerable people and endangered environments.

Looking forward to 2012 -Watch this space for inside stories coming soon from each of these life-changing projects that you have helped to fund.

With warmest wishes to all our supporters from the MfM team.