Volunteering in Madagascar
Our volunteers work on a daily basis teaching English at Saint Joseph College and few other schools in nearby villages. There are also two children’s homes for 50 and 120 kids in our town and in Antananarivo, both called Akany Avoko that look after vulnerable and abandoned children. Ankizy Gasy’s volunteers work with them and run all sorts of after-school activities such as sport, games and art and craft classes. They also help looking after infants and toddlers in both centers.
During school holidays in Madagascar from end of July until end of September we organize summer school where volunteers run different games, dancing sessions and sports activities for many kids from our neighborhood.
We are also very happy to receive volunteers who are eager to help renovating and building schools.
Every year we receive volunteers from UK, Germany and Australia from a project called World Challenge Expedition. They help us to renovate classrooms in local schools in need and to build additional classrooms in very poor schools in the countryside. So far we have managed to build 4 extra buildings in primary schools in rural areas and a brand new senior secondary school-High School Saint Paul in Ambohidratrimo. We are still planning on building more schools in the future. You can join us in helping to bring access to education for children who really need it!
If you have any manual or artistic talent or any other interesting skill and you want to share it with Malagasy children- you are the right volunteer we are searching for! You will definitely enjoy interacting with our kids and putting smiles on their faces.
If you are a nurse or a medical student or any other medical professional we will be happy to introduce you to a small nearby clinic where you can help a local staff in their daily jobs for the poorest sick people from our village.
Please bare in mind that Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. Living conditions are much different from those that we are used to in the western world.
Often there are power and water cuts. You may not have internet connection for a few days. There are different insects such as big cockroaches, mosquitos and flees. They are usually not dangerous but if you have any sort of insect phobia please think twice before coming.
You can not treat the volunteering program as the escape from your own problems. If you want to become a volunteer you need to have a strong desire to help others and we want you to concentrate on it during your stay with us.
A good volunteer is independent, creative and patient.
It is crucial to speak English as we usually receive volunteers from different countries and you need to be able to communicate with one another.
Madagascar was a former French colony and it may be useful to know French, however many people here only speak their own language-Malagasy. You will start learning it to help you to communicate with children. You will easily learn some basics from kids during your activities.
But anyway do not worry about it as language is not a barrier in volunteering!
Volunteering is mainly working as a team but depending on your skills and ideas you will also have your individual lessons with children and teachers.
Volunteers exchange their experiences and help one another to get familiar with everyday life in Madagascar.
You need to remember that you will share a house and possibly a room with other volunteers. Volunteers have to be understanding with each other and be able to solve problems. Everyone has to take responsibilities in the house such as cleaning and keeping it tidy at all times.
Life in Madagascar will be very different from what you know. The simplicity of it with the fact that you will face completely different problems and experience authentic Malagasy feelings will all give you a greater sense of fulfillment and big satisfaction from being and volunteering here.
We are sure of it!
You will live in our volunteer house in Ambohidratrimo which is a small town 15km away from the capital city Antananarivo. The house is located about 10 minutes walk from the school. It has a fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom with hot water,a spacious living room and four bedrooms upstairs. There is wi-fi in the house. It is in a fenced area and there is a guard at night to provide security of the volunteers and the house. There are lots of stands and small shops in the neighborhood where you can do grocery shopping. The local market offers plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit everyday. Volunteers cook their own meals. You can also eat a simple lunch in the school canteen in Saint Joseph College.
We rent our volunteer house from a Malagasy family in our town and therefore we ask volunteers to contribute to the cost of it. Your financial contribution depends on how long you will stay with us. The longer your stay the cheapest it is per night. It varies from 10EUR to 4 EUR per night.
You can pay your rent by bank transfer to the Foundation’s bank account or in cash upon arrival.
Volunteers also pay for their international flight. When you search for a ticket to Madagascar we recommend checking different websites such as www.skyscanner.net, www.lastminute.com, www.momondo.com, www.fly4free.pl
A return ticket can cost from 700 to1000 EUR from different European cities and depends on the airline. It is worth checking all options to find the best deal!
You will not be spending much money while staying in Ambohidratrimo where we live but if you plan to travel you should have a separate budget for that. Our volunteer coordinator will be able to advise you how much things cost.
Buying local specialties in small shops and on the market is much cheaper than shopping in supermarkets where prices are the same or sometimes higher than in Europe.
It is best to bring Euro or Pounds Sterlings in cash. You will be able to exchange US Dollars too but only those issued after 2012. It is recommended to bring VISA credit card but not Mastercard as it is not accepted in all banks and ATMs.
This is the approximate exchange rate and some price examples:
1 EUR-3600 Ariary, 1 GPG=3800 Ariary, 1USD-3200 Ariary
- a baguette 400Ar
- an egg 400Ar
- butter 7000Ar
- 1l of UHT milk 3500Ar
- a yoghurt 800Ar
- 1kg bananas – 1200Ar
- 1kg mangos- 3000Ar
- a pineapple – 2000Ar
- 1kg tomatoes -2500Ar
- 1,5l Coca Cola – 2000Ar
- 1,5l mineral water – 2000Ar
- European ham or cheese – prices as in Europe or higher
- a meal in a local bar (rice with meat and sauce): 4000-6000Ar
- a meal in a fancy restaurant: 15 000-25 000Ar
- a bus ticket to Antananarivo- 600Ar
- a taxi fare to Antananarivo 25000-35000 Ar (more at night, on Sundays and holidays)
- a bus ticket to the seaside 30000Ar –50000Ar (7h to 12h away from where we are.)
From our previous experience we recommend to come for minimum 3 months. You get a visa at the airport on arrival. A visa for 90 days costs 50 Euro, for 60 days 45 Euro and for 30 days and less – 35 euro. If you plan to stay longer than 3 months you need a special type of visa which you have to first start applying for in your country and upon arrival our Foundation provides a long term visa granted from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Madagascar. This is a long and bureaucratic process but if you allow us enough time we will help you with it!
Please let us know well in advance about the approximate dates for your planned stay so we can also reserve you a place in the volunteer house.
Ambohidratrimo is situated at 1500m above sea level so the risk of Malaria is relatively low where we live but in general Malaria exists in Madagascar. You need to consider a suitable prophylaxis and buy mosquito repellents with 50% DEET. You should also consider hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid fever,Polio and Diphtheria jabs. It is always the best to contact your local tropical medicine doctor at the early stage of your preparation for the trip to get vaccination advice in time.
Different parasites are common in Madagascar so you should often and very carefully wash your hands as well as all vegetables and fruit. Remember to drink only boiled or mineral water.
There are no poisonous snakes or spiders in Madagascar. There are no wild animals like in continental Africa. The island is known for many species of lemurs and chameleons and off course big baobabs! Flora and fauna of Madagascar differs greatly from the rest of the world with over 80% species of plants that can be found only here. Madagascar delights everyone with its beauty and diversity. You will see it!
We believe there is no age limit for becoming a volunteer but you need to be at least 18 years old to volunteer with us. If you are younger and really would like to volunteer you can come only under the care of an adult.
The duration of volunteering and the specification of the work is decided individually with every volunteer during our recruitment process. Minimum stay is 4 weeks. Please also take into consideration that if you plan to travel around Madagascar it is best to do it either before or after volunteering. Our volunteer coordinator can advise you how much time to allow to go and see different places. You can always go on short trips during weekends and school breaks such as exams etc. We will be happy to help you to organize them.
You should remember that you come here at your own responsibility. To be a volunteer you need be in a good general health and not suffer from any chronic disease. You also should be aware that access to medical help is much harder than in Europe. A travel medical insurance is a must when coming to Madagascar.
NGO Ankizy Gasy is a non-profit organization. We do not charge big fees for joining our volunteer program. We introduced the volunteering scheme to give others a chance to fulfill themselves in voluntary work for children living in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Before arrival all volunteers need to go through our recruitment process and the only fee after successful recruitment is 50 EUR to reserve and guarantee a place for you in our program.
Firstly we will ask you to write a few words about yourself and present your ideas for voluntary work. You will be also asked to send your CV and fill in our application form. After we review your application you will skype with one of us to discuss further details.
When the recruitment is completed and we both agree on everything there is only one thing left and it is to buy a ticket and meet the Children of Madagascar!
We recommend this volunteering adventure to everyone. It is a very unique experience that changes not only the ones you will help but it brings a lot of good in yourself too. Children will reward your hard work with their big and beautiful smiles that will be etched in your memory forever. It will be the time of your life. We promise!
If you are interested in volunteering at our organization please contact us via email email@example.com