Lancaster charity praised by Sir David Attenborough for Madagascar rainforest project

Sir David Attenborough has praised a Lancaster charity for its social and environmental work in Madagascar.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 3:34 pm

International development charity Money for Madagascar (MfM) is focused on helping the people of Madagascar to raise themselves out of poverty whilst protecting their unique environment.

Sir David congratulated the charity’s tropical reforestation project, while the charity’s director Irenee Rajaona-Horne, who went to Quernmore Primary School and Lancaster Girls Grammar School, received a knighthood from the Malagasy government for her work there.

The people of Madagascar are amongst the poorest on earth with 90 per cent of the population living on less than $2 per day.

Irenee said MfM supports projects that tackle the key challenges facing Madagascar today - extreme poverty; poor sanitation; lack of access to education and healthcare; loss of biodiversity and vulnerability to climate related natural disasters.

She said: “Over 20 years I seen kids’ lives transformed from total destitution to becoming confident young adults. Some of the older ones now have their own children and they have broken the cycle of poverty. They have a safe roof over their heads, are able to buy food and medicines for their children and even afford to send their children to school.

“Thanks to dedicated sponsors we have been able to feed, clothe and educate these kids - to turn street kids into doctors, teachers, social workers, farmers, seamstresses, hairdressers, and news reporters.

But our work is not done. Not by far. We have hundreds of kids that are still on their journey to recovery. We need new sponsors for them.”
Many Lancaster charities have donated money to the charity, including a £3,600 donation from LRGS last week.

Sir David Attenborough said: “Congratulations MfM on all you have done to protect Madagascar’s marvellous forests and the many species that live there.

“Madagascar is the home of a multitude of marvellous creatures that live only there. They urgently need all the help and protection we can give them.”

Madagascar split from India 88 million years ago, allowing plants and animals to evolve on the island in relative isolation. Its distinctive ecology has led some ecologists to refer to Madagascar as the “eighth continent”, and the island has been classified by Conservation International as a biodiversity hotspot.

Tabitha Middleton, a fundraiser for the charity, said: “We are now really keen to raise awareness of our work in the local community and to offer local people the chance to get involved with us.

“Our event at The Friends Meeting House on July 12 will offer a chance to learn more about the mysterious island of Madagascar; to meet the MfM team (staff and volunteers) and find out about what we do.

“We hope that we will inspire some people to get involved. There are lots of great opportunities, from fundraising to research or even visiting our projects in Madagascar.”

The event takes place between 7.30pm and 9pm. All welcome. More information at www.moneyformadagascar.org..