Madagascar is a magical island and one of the biologically richest and economically poorest countries on earth. This project supports an award-winning, grassroots NGO, building rural schools for rural communities in the southeast of the island. You will be working for a UK registered charity and Malagasy NGO whose aim is to eradicate poverty, suffering and environmental damage in Madagascar. This is the scheme for people looking for a fitness-building outdoors experience that really makes a difference to the lives of those less fortunate.
Volunteers will help address the high demand for schools in the rural commune of Mahatalaky. Mahatalaky is made up of 16 fokontanies, or villages, each of which is made up of several outlying hamlets. The commune is vast and communities isolated from each other. Many fokontanies have no formal educational services and children are forced to walk up to 20km per day to attend schools in other communities – that is, if there is room for them. It is no surprise that illiteracy in this area is among the highest rates nationally. Yet schools in the area are heavily over capacity such is the desire among children to learn. Please note that some projects may involve construction of other types of buildings needed in the community.
Construction involves technical specialists, overseas volunteers and the community working together, not only meaning the project is extremely cost effective but also providing opportunity for cross-cultural exchanges and for the village children to learn some English.
This volunteer project seeks to minimize its impact on the environment and work in a sustainable manner which benefits the community. Wherever possible only local suppliers are used and local people are employed, and group sizes, water usage and motorized transport are all kept to a minimum. Volunteers are taught some of the local dialect of Malagasy and made aware of local customs before starting work.
Sample Itinerary (3 week option also available)
Arrive in Fort Dauphin. Situated at the beautiful lake-side camp of Lanirano in Fort Dauphin, you will receive a detailed orientation about Madagascar and local customs. This will be followed by a tour of Fort Dauphin and welcome drinks to allow volunteers and staff to get to know each other.
A visit to Nahampona Reserve will allow you to get up close to several species of lemur including Verreauxs sifaka, ring tailed lemurs, and brown lemurs. This will be followed by a brief of the project you will be working on for the duration of your time in Madagascar.
Travel to bush site. Set up camp.
Working alongside like-minded volunteers and community members, you will help in all aspects of building a school – engaging in hands on construction of a 6 x 12 meter two-room, stone floored, tin roofed, wooden school house, equipped with tables and chairs, blackboard and shelving.
Day off to relax and enjoy an excursion to a local market, forest or beach depending on project location
Return to Fort Dauphin
A day at leisure to relax and enjoy the beautiful beaches of Fort Dauphin before catching your flight home.
Basic camping facilities are provided for volunteers during the project. There will always be latrine and private washing facilities. Electricity and piped water are available when in Fort Dauphin, however in the field, water is collected and then treated from rivers and wells.
All meals are provided for volunteers throughout the scheme. Meals mainly consist of rice, beans, vegetables and fruit. Fish (or eggs for vegetarians) are provided when possible. All meals are prepared by a cook, who travels alongside the group. The best possible treated drinking water is always available.
The cost of the programme is essentially a donation to support the charitable work of the organisation. Funds generated by the programme support projects in Madagascar, with 93% of all donations being spent in direct pursuit of our charitable aims and providing vital support to our ongoing projects in the areas of health and sanitation, sustainable livelihoods and conservation.
Don't let the size of the required fee put you off! The project managers have a dedicated team to support volunteers, with a wealth of fundraising experience and resources including manuals, posters, sponsor forms, online donation facilities, collection boxes and even a lemur suit!
The donation covers you for all in-country travel costs (excluding flights), project costs, training, meals and plenty of safe water, use of basic campsite facilities, orientation and a dedicated team to guide you in Madagascar. It does not include flights or any pre-departure expenses, such as visa fees, travel insurance and medical expenses.
8th Jan - 21st or 28th Jan
2nd April - 15th April or 22nd April
2nd July - 15th July or 22nd July
1st Oct - 14th or 21st Oct
8th Jan - 21st or 28th Jan
1st April - 14th or 21st April
1st July - 14th or 21 July
30th Sep - 13th or 20th Oct
MINIMUM AGE 18