Nothing is so difficult that diligence cannot master it.
A heartbreaking paradox of national wealth, Madagascar is one of only 17 designated “megadiverse” nations in the world, yet 75% of its population lives on less than $1.90/day. Despite an abundance of natural resources, over 77% of the urban population lives in slums (USA Today) and even in the capitol Antananarivo, informal settlements make up between 60 to 70 percent of dwellings. (CAHF) These are houses that have large holes in the roofs, decaying walls, dirt floors or overcrowding — and too often all of the above. With only 10% of the adult population having access to a bank account, most can’t get hands on the resources they need to improve their lot.
The Fuller Center is partnering with families in these circumstances in the town of Antsirabe, in central Madagascar, to provide the opportunities that they otherwise will never have. Families are required to begin saving prior to receiving their home to demonstrate their capacity and willingness to pay it forward. They then help to build the homes and pay the costs forward on a no-profit, no-interest loan over about five years.
The program has developed low-cost methods of building and repairing homes with families. A detached sanitation building with a latrine and bathing area is included with each new home.
There are several ways that you can get involved:
- Donate to support this specific partner. Houses cost money to build, so any donation is always helpful!
- Volunteer on one of our Peru Global Builders teams, which you can learn more about below. You’ll travel to Peru and get to know the local people and traditions while you partner with families to complete a home.
- Join a virtual volunteer team, choosing to donate your travel costs instead of making the trip in person. This is the perfect way to stay involved and give back during the COVID-19 pandemic.
House Sponsorship cost: $3,300
What is a trip like?
- 7:00 – Breakfast
- 7:40 – Daily briefing
- 8:20 – Leave for work site
- 8:30 – Start work
- 12:00 – Lunch
- 1:30 – Resume work
- 4:00 – Afternoon tea
- 5:30 – End of work day
- 7:30 – Dinner
-Mix mortar and concrete
-Assist with iron framework
-Construct walls with the masons
-Coat and paint houses
Teams will likely stay at the Hotel Antsirabe, a convenient 10 minute walk from the construction sites. Amenities include hot water, laundry services, and wifi. Bedding and towels are provided by the hotel.
The country host will rent a bus or van to transport the team to destinations that cannot be walked to. Much of the area can be accessed on foot though, since the hotel is in the city center and only a 10 minute walk from the work sites.
You can find a list of packing suggestions in the Madagascar handbook.
A basic suggestion though is to be aware of the weather during your trip. Conditions vary with the season and packing should adjust accordingly. We also recommend bringing small hand tools if you’re able.
Madagascar has a growing tourism industry and the affordability makes most activities accessible. The activities recommended by the country hosts are:
– A visit to Lake Tritriva
– Trying the thermal baths
– A bike ride to Lake Andraikiba
Let’s dive deeper
The best way to learn about the project is to hear it from the perspective of one of our first families, Arnaud and Georgette, who live with their two children Gael and Bernice. We include it here with minimal editing for purposes of authenticity.
“With our low monthly revenue, the bank doesn’t accept our request to finance building our house. In fact, I am Security Agent and my wife is a teacher at a primary school. Together, we earn $100 a month for the whole family. For this reason, we have lived many years in the slum. One day, when I first heard news about Fuller Center Madagascar told by my neighbors, I joined its meeting on Saturday at the municipality hall. After this time, the hope to see my house built got more and stronger within me. The kindness that the team of Fuller Center Madagascar shared to us changed our disappointment to confidence. I was overjoyed when my application for housing assistance has been approved. Now, my new house is built in a nice place, my family will leave this unsafe and unhealthy place.
During the 12 twelve years we live here, in our current location; I have suffered because there is no space at our wooden house. Yet, the dirty water from the toilets of surrounding houses and garbage from the near channel comes into our home when it rains. All these, I will live no more. Thanks to the donor giving us money to build our house.”
“Sincerely, to come into contact with Fuller Center Madagascar changes the life of my family. I always dream to get a house, our own house but we have no means to achieve it until we met Fuller Center Madagascar. Now, I am very happy and want to say “”THANK YOU” for everyone who participates to all works that allow my family to get a house. Again, thank you Fuller Center for the fund by which we can build our house.”