In October we will be going to Madagascar for 10 weeks of voluntary work out in the jungle. During this time we will be living in a tent and will pretty much eat nothing but beans and rice (mmm, lovely beans and rice!). We also need to learn French, and fast, as that’s the only language spoken on the island. We’ll be working on projects to help some of the poorest people in the world and to protect the rainforest habitat of Madagascar’s lemurs.
Being half way across the world makes it a little tricky for us to organise events and the like to raise the money and this is where we call on you, our esteemed friends, families and other assorted waifs and strays, to help us out. There are a number of ways in which you can lend a hand, most of which need not take up much of your valuable time or even money. Anything that you can do to help us will be rewarded with our eternal gratitude and beer. Anyhow, those options are:
- Volunteer to sell raffle tickets (we can provide them)
- Come up with your own (wacky or not wacky) fundraising ideas
- Remember us for existing or planned charity events
- Donate directly. You can donate your life savings through our special Azafady web page or send us a cheque (just email one of us and we’ll send you an address).
We’ve started the ball rolling ourselves by donating 1000 pounds. This more than pays for any costs Azafady might incur from us being in Madagascar and we’ve also paid for our flights and transportation. That means that any donations or help from you will go 100% direct to the charity.
Ok, that’s the begging letter done with, what follows is some information about Azafady and the work they do that our fundraising efforts will directly support.
WHO ARE AZAFADY? – They’re a UK registered charity (no 1079121) and Madagascar Non Governmental Organisation.
Azafady means ‘please’ in Malagasy. The charity aims to help the people of Madagascar by providing sanitation, clean drinking water and basic health care and the environment by promoting sustainable livelihoods and improving conservation research.
Last year alone Azafady gave access to clean drinking water to around 4000 people, access to basic health care to at least 10,000 people, planted thousands of trees, numerous gardens and created small income generating industries in 5 villages.
SOME FACTS ABOUT MADAGASCAR
About the People:
- Most people live as subsistence farmers, their extreme poverty (70% living on less than $1 per day) drives deforestation as they clear land to grow crops.
- 10% of children will die before they reach their 5th birthday, most from preventable diseases.
- Only around one quarter of the population currently have access to safe drinking water.
About the Environment:
- Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the worlds and sits 400 km East of Mozambique.
- 80% of the plant and animals species in Madagascar are found nowhere else on earth, this includes the critically
endangered Lemurs, two thirds of the worlds chameleon species and the cancer treating rosy periwinkle.
- 85-95% of the original forest cover has been destroyed, mostly due to slash and burn agriculture.
To solve the environmental issues Azafady aim to tackle poverty and promote sustainable livelihoods to ease the pressure on the forest. To that end Azafady is as much a humanitarian charity as an environmental one.
Please help, we live pretty cushy lives compared to this lot. Even if it’s just one less bottle of wine or one less Chinese takeaway, the money could go towards helping some of the poorest people on Earth and protecting a habitat that’s really on its last chance. Without intervention it will be gone forever, extinction isn’t reversible.
And lastly……. Some quotes from famous people
SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH on Azafady and Madagascar in 1999.
‘Although this immense island has now lost much of its vegetation, its forest still survives on the South East Corner and it still contains spectacular populations of monkey like Lemurs and much else besides. At the moment the forest is gravely threatened by short-term development and by the risk of fire. Project Lokaro [a conservation initiative of Azafady] aims to save it.’
GERALD DURELL on Madagascar in 1994
‘It is essential that the world realizes the biological importance of the island and the plight of its people and hurries to the rescue of this extraordinary corner of the globe’