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!