As children in South Dundas head back to school, many with backpacks filled with all the necessary supplies for a good school year, it is difficult to imagine that on the other side of the world, there are children who stand outside the schoolyard, peering in and hoping that they will someday have the chance for an education.
Unable to go to school due to the lack of family funds, the children will have few opportunities to break out of the cycle of malnutrition and poverty.
In the summer of 2007, an elementary teacher from Maxville decided to try and change that.
Cathy Lucking was volunteering at an orphanage in central Madagascar and resolved to confront the education problem directly by building a school and staffing it with competent Malagasy teachers.
During that year, many in Eastern Ontario responded by contributing money to the registered charity that Lucking had established, and the villagers of Ambatoharanana began making and hauling the important bricks necessary for the construction of their first school. It was completed and in operation by the fall of 2008.
In the past few years, the project has gathered speed and another school has been built and opened. Cathy’s home area of Maxville has been a big supporter of the project. As word spread, more churches and community groups have become involved.
Now, a Christian outreach group from three Anglican churches in South Dundas is working on a fund raising dinner to help fund the ongoing work of operating the schools and increasing the number of classrooms.
On Saturday, October 5, Allan Hall in Morrisburg will be the site of a special dinner that will feature a menu of Malagasy foods, which will be prepared by a dedicated group of local volunteers. Tickets are $20.
Diners will enjoy foods similar to those that would be a holiday meal for the more affluent in Madagascar. Dishes will include a soup of pureed vegetables, tomato salad, also vegetables and chicken and rice, with typical spices from which you may choose. For dessert, pineapple upside-down cake.Organizers will have a small display of items from Madagascar, along with some hand-crafted jewellery for sale.
Cathy Lucking will be in attendance to share her experiences through a video presentation. Tickets can be purchased at Seaway Valley Pharmacy in Morrisburg or by calling Joan Larocque at 543-0722. MadagascarSchoolProject.com is the online source for photos and information about the Madagascar School and Cathy Lucking’s amazing work.