Any quick internet search will put Madagascar in the top ten of poorest nations on earth. Their government is eternally corrupt and inept, infrastructure is abysmal, and their education system lacks resources, schools, teachers, and money to pay the teachers. None of that is going to change any time soon. These kids have ZERO possibilities coming their way. We can change that. We can give them the opportunity to show what they can do if given a chance.
Raise $5,000 to send 50 children (girls and boys in equal numbers) to an after school English course in Antsiranana, Madagascar. $30 will pay for 3 months tuition for 5 days a week and two hours a day. That's right, $10 a month for 40 hours of instruction.
According to the "Oxford English Dictionary" English is the true global language with an estimated "one out of four people worldwide" speaking with some degree of competence.Moreover, the English language "has official status" in at least 75 countries (with a combined population of two billion people).
The importance of learning English in a connected and globalized world environment cannot be overstated. It is the primary language of global communication, trade,commerce, diplomacy, and foreign policy.
English language programs for children, in time to influence their educational attainment. are far more effective than learning as an adult.
The effects of English language skills can extend beyond the labor market, and in ways that dramatically affect society and families.
My proposition is to fund their tuition for 3 months, measure the results, and reward those who have worked hard and received high marks with another 3 months of tuition. It is a HAND UP and NOT a HAND OUT. Depending on the amount of money available, we will continue to offer this opportunity to students in 3 month cycles monitoring results along the way.
There is simply no skill that will consistently pay more dividends over the course of their lifetime than learning English. This is a gift that will keep on giving.
In 2013 I spent 3 months in Antsiranana, Madagascar. After playing some pick up basketball one day, the local coach asked if I could help him coach his group a few times a week.
I soon learned that "his group" was comprised of over 150 kids ages 6-17 boys and girls who practiced three times a week for two hours. Age groups were divided up into 20 minute time increments so everyone
got a chance to play but there was a serious shortage of basketballs. We
never had more than 3 basketballs (if everyone brought their ball that
day ) for the group which lead to a whole lot of waiting and very little court time.. It took
me a short time to think that, perhaps, I could change all that once I
After seeing some pictures of the group at practice a high school buddy of mine sent over a box of "OKC Thunder" gear. As the coach passed out the Thunder t-shirts, caps, and other goodies the kids were running around like it was Christmas. You would have thought they had just won the Final Four.The second part of the story is all the great help I've received from individuals and organizations back home that has allowed "Us" to make a difference in this community in Madagascar. After a two minute chat, the YMCA director in Edmond, Oklahoma was completely on board. Through various other local YMCAs, he arranged for the donation of 30 basketballs and over 50 reversible jerseys.
The National Alliance for Youth Sports in West Palm Beach donated 24 soccer balls and 10 basketballs. (The folks in Madagascar wanted to start a soccer program but had no soccer balls.) My local gym in Florida, (Hard Exercise Works) held a Christmas Drive for Madagascar and raised over $1,000 that we used to purchase 60 LuminAid Solar Lights and ship them along with 4 more boxes of basketballs and soccer balls. Thanks to these groups and numerous individuals we have sent over 60 basketball, 30 soccer balls, and 60 solar lights to Madagascar.
Click here to view a video about Hard Exercise Works involvement in Madagascar Madness.
To view this and several other articles click here to visit our Facebook page.
To be honest, now that I am putting it in writing, I am overwhelmed by the generosity of those who I have mentioned and those who I have not. People working together to help others.
The Perks of Being a Funder
The most fulfilling reason to toss a couple of dollars Madagascar way is to give a youngster an opportunity to change his life forever.That being said, every contributor will receive a digital photo of the group in their English class when it starts two months from now. Stepping up your donation to the $75 level will get you either a stylish Madagascar-Ecole de Basket sleeveless jersey OR a handmade necklace earring set straight form Madagascar. The jersey is available immediately but you'll have to wait a few months for the jewelry as I will have to bring that with me the next time I return from Madagascar.
Sharing is Caring
So you're a bit down on your cash? No worries, I can empathize. One of the best ways to help is simply to promote this project. Statistically speaking, you probably have a Facebook account. It would be EXTREMELY helpful if you'd share this campaign on your profile page. Fan of Tumblr or Google+? Feel free to steal any (or all) of my images and videos. Find this campaign compelling? Well then Pin it. Do you use Twitter? Great. Well here are three pre-written tweets. Just copy and paste!
You love longshots? Have I got a team for you. igg.me/at/MadagascarMadness
"Madagascar Madness" Sounds like a good cause. Check it out. igg.me/at/MadagascarMadness
Giving is sexy. So is the concept of this crowd funding campaign. igg.me/at/MadagascarMadness
Use the little buttons (located under the video) to help spread the word.
Thank you. Merci. Mis otra (Malagasy for thank you).