MADAGASCAR – AN EXPERIENCE FOR THE WHOLE LIFE
Every year, during the October holidays, a big group of student volunteers from our school embark on a fascinating charity journey to one of the most unique corners of the world. Not far from Madagascar are famous resorts such as Seychelles and Maldives. You could ask why these students prefer going not there, not to luxury hotels, but to Madagascar, together with “Fondation Collège Champittet”? Living conditions here are far from optimal, and the pupils do not spend their holidays simply resting on the beaches: they work hard to help in constructing and renovating numerous social objects, such as schools and orphanages, with a full understanding of the importance of their action.
What is the secret of this trip? Why, returning from there, do students speak about the journey with excitement, inspiring more and more people to follow their example every year? The answer is not complicated. This journey to Madagascar has a very valuable particularity – the people. Champittet students spend time with each other, and, moreover, with local children from the orphanage. It would seem that these kids without families have nothing, but this is not true. They are extremely happy, joyful and full of energy. The atmosphere reigning during the moments of the trip is impossible to convey in words. No doubt is that this atmosphere and all the essential human feelings are transmitted to students, sticking to their memories for the whole life. So, not only do young “Champitéens” become true World Citizens, but they are reminded of the basic kind feelings that should unite all people of the planet: the love between everyone, kindness and altruism, mutual aid.
The overwhelming natural and innocent love and kindness were very well felt and described by one of our participants, Ginevra: «It’s incredible how quickly and effortlessly you can get attached to a place and its people. What touched me the most was the simplicity and the affection, I remember arriving to the “Maison des Enfants” for the first time, we had never seen the children before and neither had them, and the first thing they did wasn’t to question why we were there, instead they rushed up to us and gave us millions of hugs. It was so simple and loving, I never in my life felt so welcomed […] every single thing you do will make them smile and knowing that you’re the cause of that smile is probably the most fulfilling feeling to have».
Obviously, the Madagascar trip is not only about the exciting experiences. The main goal of “Fondation Collège Champittet” is to give targeted assistance to the people in need all around the globe. This is exactly what is being done on the island. Students take part in building, painting and modernizing the infrastructure: hospital, school, dormitory, orphanage, canteen… It is important to note that these settlements help in considerably raising the living standards not only on the regional scale but on the scale of the whole country of Madagascar! Moreover, Collège Champittet regularly provides the local kids with necessary materials that we are all used to in Europe: books, uniforms, pencils, pens, toothbrushes, glasses… From the video, which will soon be published, you will learn more about how we help develop the Madagascar project.
Victor Kuznetsov & Yulia Pak
Student representatives of the College Champittet Foundation