This is one of the richest countries on earth in terms of biodiversity and has an extraordinary flora and fauna. About 350,000 tourists a year visit this country, and, due to the huge size of Madagascar and the unique environment, most of them are led by the incredible guides and driver-guides who help tourists to understand this unique country and get the very best out of their holidays. Many of these highly-qualified, brave, tireless and incredibly talented guides and drivers speak multiple languages, many have enormous knowledge of flora and fauna, incredible skills at spotting wildlife, and are proud to explain the unique history and culture of their homeland to visitors. Most of them also are self-employed individuals, working for agencies on a daily rate during the tourist season only.
Unfortunately, while rich in flora and fauna, Madagascar is one of the least developed nations and the collapse of the tourism industry here due to COVID-19 is having devastating consequences on the livelihoods of these talented men and women. The borders are closed, many roads are closed to all but essential travel, private transport is limited, public transport is shut down, hotels are closed, the national park network has closed, and people across the country are being asked to stay at home.
While we understand the devastation that COVID-19 has had and the many lives who have been tragically lost around the world, for those of us who remain healthy, confinement is annoying to people who live in developed countries with well-developed social security systems. But we have, in most cases, safety nets upon which we can count. In countries like Madagascar where there is no such thing as unemployment benefit, unemployment and confinement is having devastating and perhaps even life threatening consequences, even for those who remain uninfected by the virus.
With no access to unemployment benefits or support, there are now hundreds of professional drivers, guides and tourism workers who are without any income, at all. Many have families to support, car payments to make, bank loans to pay, and many are in dire straights, in desperate need of support to just buy food and basic essentials.
We want to ensure that these amazing and talented women and men are safe and still here ready to re-launch tourism when this is all over and Madagascar is once-again ready to welcome visitors. Please help us to support these guides and drivers with a donation however small, and we will use your funds to provide emergency relief to tourism workers in need.
Giving to individuals:
Please note that we welcome donations to individuals, so if you want to give to a specific tourism-worker please notify us by email after you make your donation. But if you do not specify, we will allocate funds according to need (and we would prefer this, to be sure as many people as possible receive some help).
I am Brett Massoud, the Australian owner of Dadamanga, a licensed inbound tour operator business, based in Madagascar. I am a destination expert for the Trip Advisor Madagascar travel forum, and, I currently am President of the Anôsy Region Office of Tourism and, representing that office, I also sit on the board of the National Office of Tourism of Madagascar. I am currently a Vice President of TOP (the Association of Professional Tour Operators of Madagascar) and sit on two other (conservation) non-profit boards.
Use of funds:
Please also note that funds raised will not be used for Dadamanga permanent staff (I am already currently supporting 22 permanent staff who are all currently on paid leave) but only for the many independent workers who work with us every year, but are not on salary and currently have no income.
Even the smallest donation can have an impact so we encourage you to help no matter how small the donation.
Examples of what your donation can buy (in Australian dollars):
$10 = 23,000 MGA is enough for food for a family of 4 for 3 or 4 days
$20 = 46,000 MGA will buy 50 cups of dried beans, food for 100 meals
$40 = 92,000 MGA is enough for a sack of rice, enough for about 200 meals
$50 = 115,000 MGA will buy a sack of rice, oil, and vegetables for a family for nearly two weeks
$100 = 230,000 MGA will buy a sack of rice, oil and vegetables for a family for nearly a month
(Please note that the above are all estimates and will vary from household to household)
PLEASE if you agree that this is a good cause, even if you cannot make a donation yourself, consider sharing this fundraiser among your own networks, to reach the maximum number of people. Thank you very much for your time and attention.
Please also note that you may give anonymously, so your name does not appear in public on this appeal.
Thanks so very very much and we wish you and your families & loved ones safety and good health throughout this terrible time for all of us.
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