Friday, 25 May 2018

One of the largest islands in the World, Lemurs, Vanilla, Pepper, Poverty and…….rare medicinal cures ???

Image from Science Daily

Madagascar is an amazing and complex country, filled with often either rare or unique animals and plants; furthermore, a large proportion of world vanilla originates from Madagascar – one of the world’s largest islands. These are some of Madagascar’s ‘highlights’, though unfortunately it’s poverty is also a complex situation, as it can be difficult for people to find their basic needs such as food, water, shelter or health care.

Now though, another interesting detail has emerged – potentially one which could offer life – changing benefits. Madagascar has hundreds of unique plants – yet now, after several decades of research, plant scientists have uncovered a fascinating detail about a plant called Madagascar periwinkle – that it produces a cancer – fighting compound named vinblastine.

A team from the John Innes Centre in Norwich have found that the compound which is found in the leaves of the Periwinkle, can be used to create much needed drugs to fight against Testicular, Breast, Bladder and Lung Cancer.

This plant has been known since the 1950s. What is new and significant about this discovery is that scientists have only just understood how the plant produces vinblastine, and they hope to use the natural product to understand how the compound is produced and thus synthetically produce it to offer a cancer treatment quicker, more effectively and to more people.

This is an example of Madagascar continuing to surprise and produce. There is a problem, though. Madagascar is also one of the poorest countries, in which some people are forced to exploit the environment, merely to survive. It is clear that there are two key elements to work on to allow this amazing country to survive and thrive. It is important to help the people, ensure they get things such a good education, food or sanitation, which can then allow them to succeed and not need to destroy the land – if we help the people, then both they and the natural environment will both win.

If you would like to know more about how this could be done, or to make a donation – and make an immediate impact to Madagascar, please see our website at Thank you.

Sources –

Written By Matthew Ward

Thursday, 24 May 2018

NY AKO Concert in Lancaster – 14th June 2018

Money for Madagascar (MFM) is hosting the wonderful and amazingly talented NY AKO group on 14th June 2018 at Lancaster Methodist Church, Scotforth Rd. Lancaster LA1 4TE at 7:30pm.

This family-friendly event will feature traditional Malagasy music and dance from around the Island. There is a suggested donation of £10 at the door (£5 for concessions) with donations going to our partners and projects across Madagascar, which support some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

Madagascar is a beautiful country with amazing people but it also one of the poorest in the world today with many facing water and food shortages, as well as poor education. This immense poverty also puts pressure on Madagascar’s beautiful and unique environment and this is why funding these projects through is so vital. Our projects support the Malagasy people in their day-to-day lives helping to reduce poverty, improve education, and also preserve and protect Madagascar’s beautiful and unique environment.

Madagascar also supports projects, which help the Malagasy people start their own businesses. Less than 20% of the population in Madagascar are in formal employment and so we work with partners who offer training, small grants, tools and materials, which help thousands of poor Malagasy start their income generating enterprises. By attending the Ny Ako performance you can actively help the Malagasy people!

For more information about our projects visit or to make a donation visit

Thank you

Written by John Garman

Friday, 11 May 2018

Benjamin's Lemur Bounce!

Money for Madagascar (MFM) would like to say a huge thank you to Benjamin and his classmates who have raised an incredible £1060.53 so far which will be used to help replenish the decreasing rainforest and lemur habitats in Madagascar. Benjamin and his classmates bounced like the lemurs of Madagascar non-stop for 30 minutes, all to aid the vital projects which MFM supports!

Due to the extreme poverty in Madagascar, huge amounts of pressure are placed on its beautiful and unique environment resulting in mass deforestation which in turns puts unique flora and fauna (80% of which is found only in Madagascar) at risk of extinction. This in turn puts mass pressure on Madagascar’s unique species, including Lemurs, who struggle to survive in smaller and smaller forests.

Many of the poorest who live on the rainforest margins in Madagascar struggle to find enough land to grow the food that they need to survive. This land degradation means they are forced to clear the rainforest to grow food and produce to feed themselves, resulting in severe impacts on the lemurs and other native species. It is hard for the Malagasy people to consider the consequences of their actions when they are trying to feed their families. 

This is why our projects are so vital, our partners work with those who live in areas affected by land degradation and provide them with training and resources to sustainably grow vegetables, rice, and fruit trees resulting in less pressure on the Malagasy rainforests and also the Lemurs! By providing agricultural training, environmental education, tools, seeds, livestock, small grants and technical support, we have helped thousands of villagers to improve their quality of life, whilst also protecting the rainforests. We also help by planting and sustaining new forests. For example, we work with our partner Mitsinjo who are planting precious wildlife corridors to help preserve the distinctive flora and fauna around Madagascar’s Andasibe National Park -

MFM would like to say a massive thank you to Benjamin and his classmates for their incredible fundraising efforts and for all the jumping! Their willingness to help those in need is inspiring and will so greatly benefit the Malagasy people and their environment!

Well done!

It costs only £3 to plant and sustain an indigenous rainforest tree so why not show your support for Benjamin and his classmates by making a donation here:

To find out more about our projects protecting Madagascar’s environment visit:

Written by John Garman

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Bicentenary celebrations

What are we celebrating? An amazing piece of almost-forgotten history that started in disaster when, in 1818, all but one of the first group of Welsh missionaries, sent by the London Missionary Society, died of fever within eleven weeks of landing in Madagascar. The survivor, David Jones, went back to Mauritius to recover but later returned to Madagascar. A third young Welshman, David Griffiths, and his wife Mary arrived there in 1820. 
What followed was truly astonishing: Mary and the two Davids went up to the capital, learnt Malagasy and started schools, with girls included from the very beginning. By 1824, scarcely three years after their arrival, over 2,000 children were in school and being taught in their own language. The two Davids built a chapel and started preaching in Malagasy.  With the help of their most able pupils they then set about translating the Bible and the first complete edition was published in 1835.
At the request of King Radama and using the Roman script, they created a written form of the Malagasy language which is almost perfectly phonetic. As a result, learning to read has been a relatively painless process for generations of Malagasy children ever since.
Various events are planned to mark this bicentenary. Ny Ako, a group of Malagasy singers and dancers, will be touring the UK from 31st May - 18th June. Their programme will be detailed in another blog.  The Welsh Independent Chapels have plans for celebrations from 8th – 10th June in West Wales, from where the first two missionaries came, including a play, a concert and a service of thanksgiving.
Theresa, Co-ordinator of MfM for many years, is putting on a concert in Cardiff on 22nd September featuring Welsh and Malagasy musicians. Details of this will be included nearer the time in another blog. 
Music reaches every part of life in Madagascar and when King George IV sent King Radama the gift of a piano he was overjoyed.  Some of the music composed by him in the 1820s will be performed in this concert.
Paddy Bush, brother of the singer Kate Bush, is Irish, not Malagasy, but he is a fine performer on the Valiha, the national instrument of Madagascar, and will be joining Justin Vali and his group in the Cardiff concert.

We look forward to seeing MfM supporters at one or more of these events.

To find out more information email or to make a donation visit www.moneyformadagascar/donate

By Theresa Haine