From Maxville to Mada­gas­car

The Glengarry News - - News - BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK News Staff

Good news, laugh­ter, fun and food took cen­trestage at the 11th an­nual Mada­gas­car School Project (MSP) Din­ner and Silent Auc­tion on Fri­day, May 10, at the Met­calfe Cen­tre in Maxville.

The sold-out af­fair with 154 peo­ple at­tend­ing helped raise money for Sekoly Te­naquip, the pri­mary and sec­ondary school nes­tled in the re­mote moun­tains of cen­tral Mada­gas­car that Maxville teacher Kathy Luck­ing founded in 2007. The project’s schools have been largely built with money raised in SD&G.

Em­cee for the night was Mackie Robert­son, United Church Lay Min­is­ter from Bainsville and a long­time friend to MSP, back to host the fundraiser after a few years.

The evening was its typ­i­cal blend of cross-ta­ble so­cial­iz­ing, and be­fore the meal, nib­bling on hors d'oeu­vres and brows­ing the silent auc­tion items, many of them Mala­gasy arts and crafts.

Mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment this year was pro­vided by Alexan­dria mu­sic teacher Gabrielle Camp­bell ac­com­pa­nied by her son Noël on cello and daugh­ter Rachel who sang. Noël and Gabrielle also vol­un­teered as part of Julia Gra­ham’s ca­ter­ing crew serv­ing up a de­li­cious buf­fet of Mala­gasy-flavoured food, and Noël had the dis­tinc­tion of walk­ing the high­est-bid cake in the cake auc­tion through the ta­bles, show­ing off Mar­ion Beb­bing­ton’s tow­er­ing “Foun­tain of Youth” triple-decker blue­berry-stud­ded con­fec­tion that raised over $500.

Also grac­ing the stage was spe

cial guest pi­anist Tsan­tani­rina Da­jao from Mada­gas­car now liv­ing in Mon­treal, and singer Han­nah Faubert, 16, from Loch Garry who stud­ies voice with Ms. Camp­bell.

In her an­nual up­date, Kathy Luck­ing had more good news from Lova Soa School in Am­bat­o­ha­ranana and Sekoly Te­naquip School in Am­bo­hi­borosy. The pre­sen­ta­tion in­cluded a dra­matic drone shot of Sekoly Te­naquip that has spread over a hill­side sur

rounded by the school’s rice fields. The two schools serve 700 of the most needy chil­dren in ru­ral Mada­gas­car.

As Ms. Luck­ing out­lined in her il­lus­trated pre­sen­ta­tion, the project’s goal is not just to ed­u­cate chil­dren, but to give them the skills they need to be­come com­mu­nity lead­ers and agents of so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal change.

MSP fundraises full time in Canada to pro­vide Sekoly Te­naquip with the ap­prox­i­mately $160,000 CAD needed to meet its an­nual op­er­at­ing ex­penses.

The goal is to make Sekoly Te­naquip com­pletely self-suf­fi­cient by 2026, an am­bi­tion that seems to be on track with the school now gen­er­at­ing income by selling eggs and veg­eta­bles and rice from its per­ma­cul­ture gar­dens in nearby com­mu­ni­ties.

Ms. Luck­ing also re­ported on the stu­dents who have grad­u­ated, train­ing as pri­mary and sec­ondary teach­ers, who are now back at the school teach­ing. The school serves 18 sur­round­ing vil­lages and the min­gling of chil­dren has formed friend­ships that wouldn’t be pos­si­ble oth­er­wise.

Re­flect­ing on the suc­cess of the din­ner on Mon­day, a tired but de­lighted Jose­line Beaulieu, MSP’s vice-chair who helped or­ga­nize the night, said, “Over the past 11 years, the MSP sup­port­ers have built some­thing won­der­ful that has saved lives and pro­vided fu­tures. The over­all lo­gis­tics and odds are amaz­ing. What are the chances that a group of peo­ple in Canada would have taken un­der their wing to pro­tect a com­mu­nity of strangers lo­cated across oceans, on the other side of the planet, in a re­mote area?”

In­nate kind­ness

“Why do this then?” she asked, re­spond­ing, “It's in­nate kind­ness.”

To learn more about the Mada­gas­car School Project, to read Kathy Luck­ing’s blog, to do­nate, or find out how to vol­un­teer and travel to Mada­gas­car to help with the project, visit mada­gas­carschool­pro­ject.com

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

FUNDRAIS­ING DIN­NER: Pho­tog­ra­pher Ang Water­ton of Mo­ment.us Pho­tog­ra­phy in Corn­wall poses with Mada­gas­car School Project founder Kathy Luck­ing at the 11th an­nual MSP Din­ner. Ms. Water­ton presented an il­lus­trated talk about her re­cent trip to the schools in Mada­gas­car.

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