“I wanted to see Africa,” said Jo Saunders, “so my daughter Annie and I set up a trip to several African countries over last February. But we definitely saved the best for last.
We travelled to Madagascar to visit Kathy Lucking and see the Madagascar School Project. And it was simply amazing.”
On Friday, October 21, beginning at 5:30 p.m., the Anglican Churches of South Dundas are holding the 5th annual fund raising dinner, to support Kathy Lucking’s Madagascar School Project, at the Morrisburg Legion.
Many children on Madagascar (which is currently trying to reverse an ecological crisis) are trapped in a cycle of poverty.
Education, especially through the Madagascar School Project, is one of the surest ways to break that cycle.
Founder Kathy Lucking, who receives no tangible support from the sadly corrupt government of Madagascar, relies on fundraisers like the one scheduled for Morrisburg Friday night.
Jo Saunders learned of the incredible accomplishments of Lucking’s Project. She decided to see for herself what support from ordinary Canadians has meant to the children and their families.
In 2008, the Madagascar School opened with 65 students.
Thanks to Kathy’s efforts there are now two schools, with over 600 children attending.
“We stayed at the school for about a week,” Jo said. “We ate lunch with the children, rice and cooked vegetables, the one good meal some of these children get every day. And they drink a special tea with their meals.
The tea tasted like burned rice with water over it to me,” she laughed, “but the kids love it.”
Developing a passionate love of learning is a hall mark of Kathy Lucking’s work in Madagascar.
“Many African schools are bare and learning is by rote,” Jo said. “Kathy follows the Waldorf Education Program. Project classrooms are bright, vibrant and exciting places to spend time. She encourages creativity in the arts and music.”
Jo is also tremendously impressed with the scope of Kathy Lucking’s vision.
Her goal is to make the School self-sustaining by 2023.
It is her intention to ultimately phase out reliance on Western funding.
Already students grow their own crops, and a bio-digester creates fuel for the school.
And to combat the ecological crisis on Madagascar, the School Project has taken a pro-active stand on environmental issues.
“Annie and I helped plant 60 mango and 40 avocado trees while we were there. The island has been deforested, the soil is washing away, and planting trees will be life savers for this and future generations on Madagascar.
Kathy has also put up solar panels at the school to provide energy down the road.
I just don’t think that there is any project that Kathy won’t consider.”
Jo Saunders describes Kathy Lucking as the heart and soul of this Project.
“I don’t know whether I was more exited to see the School or to spend time with Kathy,” she said.
“Kathy has a great sense of humour, and she’s smart and capable. She is the guiding light of the Madagascar School Project and an inspiration to us all.”
Jo Saunders understands how important support for the Madagascar School Project is as the school grows and works toward self-sufficiency. Fundraisers like the one scheduled for Morrisburg on October 21 are vital.
Whether through purchasing a dinner ticket, or toonie twinning or making a donation, “I feel what’s really important is to find some way to support this education, to help however you decide to do it,” said Jo Saunders.
To purchase a dinner ticket or make a donation to the Madagascar School Project, contact Joan Larocque at 613-703-7699.