The funds are still coming in, but it appears that the Madagascar School Project Fundraiser, through the Anglican Churches of South Dundas, will bring in more than $16,000 to help over 700 students.
The Madagascar School Project was founded, and is headed by retired Ontario teacher, Kathy Lucking. The Morrisburg fundraiser took place on Friday, October 21, at the Morrisburg Legion.
Under the leadership of the chair of the Outreach program, Gord Lane, volunteers worked for several months to put the annual dinner and fundraiser together.
From just a few children in a makeshift classroom in 2009, when Lucking began the Project, her dream has grown to include five school buildings, apartments for teachers, fields where students raise their own food and plant trees, access to health care and a joyous learning environment.
Her Project now gives 700 children from the impoverished region in Madagascar an education that would otherwise be impossible.
The South Dundas Anglican churches have supported Kathy Lucking from the outset.
At Friday night’s dinner, speakers praised Kathy’s efforts and learned of the successes and hopes she has for the project.
Among the guest speakers was a special one, Bryce St. Pierre, a 14-year-old student and a member of the Morrisburg Leos.
Bryce had travelled with his family to Costa Rica and later to South Africa, seeing first hand how difficult life could be for young people in other nations who dreamed of an education.
His mother Cathy St. Pierre got in touch with Kathy Lucking and learned about the Madagascar School Project.
Bryce decided that he wanted to take part in a volunteer experience at the School, but his parents told him, if he was serious, that he would need to raise his own air fare.
He was serious.
In 2015, Bryce took on numerous jobs around his community, everything from bottle drives to window washing, to raise the funds he would need. Keith Robinson of the Leos arranged several tasks for him including scraping rust off a shipping container, that added to his growing travel fund.
“The community was very supportive,” Bryce said in his speech at the dinner. “By the end of the summer, I had a substantial amount of money raised.”
In the meantime, however, the board of the Project had made a decision that it could now purchase insurance coverage only for volunteers over 18.
“Do I hold on to the money until I am 18 and then go volunteer,” Bryce told the dinner guests. “But that is four years away and I know there are many things that are needed now.”
He made the decision to donate his $1,727 to the Madagascar School Project at the Friday night fundraiser.
“It can benefit kids now,” Bryce St. Pierre said, “in getting an education that I know from first hand experience is so important to them and their families.”
With entertainment by Isabelle Delage, a delicious turkey dinner cooked by the Legion Ladies Auxiliary and volunteer teen servers from Seaway District High School, the Madagascar School Project fundraiser for 2016 was an unqualified success.