25 Wonderful Years

A big celebration calls for a big cake. This 2 meter long one did not disappoint.
June 17, 2011 Text and Photos by Chad Lebo

Last weekend a marvelous milestone was reached by one of Madagascar's most dedicated supporters; Money for Madagascar (MfM) celebrated 25 years of providing generous support for the people of Madagascar. For almost their entire 25 years, they have been a crucial partner for Akany Avoko. Hundreds of children have been helped thanks to their tireless support.

The anniversary deserved to be celebrated properly and it certainly was. The Director, Mme. Lalasoa, called it the best party she has been to in the 17 years she has worked at Akany Avoko. It was attended by the directors of La Source and several other programs supported by MfM. Also attending was Martin Wilkinson, a trustee from MfM who had just completed several weeks of visiting the many locations around the island where MfM is active.

A night of 8 performances was capped with an amazing Sakalavan dance from the southwest coast. Rather convincing for some highland kids.
Below is the speech given by Mme. Lalasoa as a thank you to the 25 years of incredible service of Money for Madagascar:
For 25 years, Money for Madagascar has been helping the people of Madagascar help themselves. Their work reaches from the coasts to the highlands, from the green forests to the dark streets of Tana. They have helped protect not only children and families but also the plants and animals that make Madagascar one of the most amazing lands on earth.

From the very beginning in 1986, their work has always been about giving and supporting the good work of others. Their patrons and donors offer money to projects and programs that are making a difference in Madagascar. They give this money openly and allow the programs to govern themselves, a trust that is appreciated by all of us here today and the thousands of others helped by the more than a dozen programs currently supported throughout the country.

Their generosity and belief are the winds that lift lives above poverty and hopelessness.

In the past 25 years, from the work began by Barbara Prys-Williams with the help of the Quakers of Swansea to work done today by gracious Trustees like Martin Wilkinson with us here today, Money for Madagascar has changed the lives of thousands of children and families. They have helped Madagascar fight for itself. They have promoted education, health, agriculture and sustainability.

They have done all of this without expecting or needing thanks. But we are here to do just that today. We are here to thank Money for Madagascar for 25 years of dedication and hard work and to wish them another 25 years of changing lives in Madagascar.

Martin, we thank you and Money for Madagascar for your love and support. You have done great work. And we thank you.
Two happy directors and smiling trustee.
A colorful dance complete with umbrellas that when unfurled spelled "Akany Avoko".
Really, what boy doesn't like to dance around with a spear?
The joyous crowd post-dance and pre-dinner.
The special treat of fried chicken was very much enjoyed by all (many even snuck some away to have for a morning snack the next day).
The after-party party where director and kids alike enjoyed the stage before it had to be torn down.

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