Madagascar’s growth accelerates, putting more grateful families in decent homes

Madagascar’s growth accelerates, putting more grateful families in decent homes

Madagascar annually ranks as one of the poorest countries per capita in the world, yet the island nation off the east coast of Africa is rich in wildlife, fauna and in the spirit of the Malagasy people.

Those are some of the reasons why Madagascar has become one of The Fuller Center for Housing’s popular Global Builders destinations. The main reason, though, is because volunteers can see the tremendous difference simple, decent homes are making for grateful families.

In 2023 alone, The Fuller Center of Madagascar housed 78 families, bringing their total to 212 since transitioning from another housing nonprofit. The program is on course to continue growing as funds are recycled The Fuller Center way — with families repaying the costs of construction on terms they can afford through zero-percent-interest mortgage payments that go into a fund to help even more families get the same hand-up.

Meanwhile, the work is able to accelerate quickly because the in-country leadership runs a lean operation and employs simple, affordable building techniques. (Note: You can sponsor a home in Madagascar for just $3,500. Click here to learn more.)

“They really want to be able to continue to scale what they’re doing,” said Fuller Center Vice President of International Programs Ryan Iafigliola, who made a site visit to Madagascar in early February. “This year we have a goal — a really ambitious goal, and we’ll need more funds to do it — of completing more than 100 homes.”

Local Fuller Center leaders are not done partnering with families after keys and Bibles are presented at home dedications. These families have improved upon their past living conditions, but their continued involvement today ensures not only their success but also that other families will get the same kind of hand-up in the future.

“Something they’ve already started that they’re going to continue to do is working with these families to help them develop additional opportunities,” Iafigliola said. “They have a program in which they assemble families into groups and help them develop some income-generating activities. The main thing they’ve been doing so far is raising chickens for eggs and meat. They want to grow those programs and grow the number of families that they’re reaching. There’s a long list of families who need help every single year.”

Another key component they would like to see continue growing is bringing in Fuller Center Global Builders teams.

“They want to accept more Global Builders teams and have more volunteers coming,” Iafigliola said. “Last year was a great year with 10 teams. This year, five are scheduled, and they’d like to see that number increase. It’s such a powerful way that volunteers can make a difference in the lives of families and seeing Madagascar and its people.”

RELATED STORY: Volunteer Andi Van Sickle talks about dramatic changes Fuller Center, volunteers are making in Madacascar

GALLERY: Madagascar 2024 site visit

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