Having just completed a 3-month trip to Madagascar, here is my account of my experiences with the various NGO’s that are doing amazing things for the Malagasy population and supporting the countries development. I wrote about my experience with Hope for Madagascar in a separate post here.
Akany Avoko Faravohitra
Akany Avoko Faravohitra is residential rehabilitation centre in the capital city, Antananarivo. It provides a safe haven for nearly 50 girls who have been placed in the juvenile justice or child welfare systems. The girls are looked after, mentored and provided with empowering training that aims to give them the opportunity to become self-sustainable in adulthood through avenues such as cooking and various handicrafts. The centre also hosts international volunteers who give the girls an opportunity to learn about other cultures and provide them with hands on experience of learning languages such as English and French.
I stayed at the centre for a month and it was a really special, heart-warming time. My day-to-day activities included partaking in activities, teaching about 10 weekly informal and practical English classes to small groups, leading a few yoga sessions and having lots of chats and laughs. Please have a look at the Akany Avoko Faravohitra website for more information.
Ankizy Gasy (Children of Madagascar) is another wonderful organization based in the town Ambohidratrimo just outside the capital. The main focus of their work is supporting the families of local underprivileged children by funding their yearly expenses of attending school. They also organize activities and English lessons with their volunteers and run a canteen for the poorest of the community. My experience with the charity was brief as I only came one weekend to assist with a school festival but it was positive and inspiring. Learn more about Ankizy Gasy on their website.
Centre Fihavanana is located in central Antananarivo. It is run by The Sisters of the Good Shepherd who work to help street children into education and support other underprivileged members of society. They host classes for children on all ages as well as provide training in handicrafts that the centre sells to generate income. They don’t currently have facilities to host volunteers but welcome interested visitors for a tour (I arranged a visit on one of my last days to donate my small stash of unused medicine and some other supplies). You can support them by making a donation, purchasing the handicrafts they have for sale, or simply dropping of your unused supplies of clothing and medicine (Call 034 13 459 91 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
* * *
Below: I also had the privilege of being a 'guest teacher' at the Fofikri primary school & a photo of the high quality embroidery produced by the girls at Akany Avoko Faravohitra:
Above: The capital city, Antananarivo, at dawn & the classroom at Akany Avoko Faravohitra .
Volunteering in Madagascar has been a wonderful experience, it helped me see more of the country more authentically, it connected me to local people and it taught me many valuable lessons. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone considering doing the same. Please dont hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.