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BlogIsland Life

Nosy Be Dojo Young Courage Challenge


MRCI’s very own financial manager, Franck Randimby, embarked upon an epic 110km challenge on Nosy Be with his dojo students. Franck and his students walked 110km around Nosy Be, with the journey lasting two and a half days.

Franck is the owner of the Tao Shi Bei Nosy Be Dojo and is the Kung-Fu Master, referred to as Sifu. The purpose of this challenge was to learn and practice survival skills. Qualities such as endurance and self-discipline were put to the ultimate test.


Franck and his students made do with only one meal in the evenings, forgoing breakfast and lunch. They didn’t have any specialized clothing, shoes or equipment. The rough conditions also included sleeping without any bedding or mattresses at night. Although, they were able to eat whatever fruit and vegetables they found along the way. 

They left Hellville on the Friday at 6pm, marking day one of their journey. After that they made their way toward Marodoka, Ambatozavavy, Fascene, Andimakabo, Mbombory, Bemagnondro Be, Antsakolagny, Andrianakonko, Mangirankirana. 


On day two they found themselves passing through Mahazandry, Ankalampo, Antsatrabevoa, Navetsy, Belamandy, Befotaka, Ampasindrava Befotaka, Mont Passot, Madiro, Antanamitarana, and Andilana.

On their third and final day they ventured toward Antsoha, Maromokotra, Orangia, Ambaro, Antsatrakolo, Ambodimangasoa, Dzamanjary, Ambondrogno, Madirokely, Diego lely, Jabala and then returned back to Hellville.


The demanding Nosy Be Challenge was enjoyed by all but not all were able to complete the task. On day one they were a group of 23 but ended the third day with 17. Next year we are certain all 23 will be able to complete the challenge.

For the next Nosy Be Young Courage Challenge we will incorporate a fundraiser event, including our volunteers and the local community. Check out our donations page to see what we are currently fundraising towards.

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MRCI Volunteer Well Fundraiser 1
BlogCommunity Development

MRCI Volunteer Well-Point Fundraiser

Clean Water for Ampoagna

Every so often, MRCI receives that exceptional volunteer. Someone who is passionately dedicated towards making a real difference here in Madagascar. Tim is one of them. Upon his return from volunteering, he took it upon himself to raise the necessary funds to construct a fresh water well in the village of Ampoagna. His story is truly inspiring, and we’d like to tell you about it.

Tim came to Madagascar as a volunteer on the MRCI Forest Conservation Program. During his four weeks, two separate events inspired him to set up this personal project. Island Outreach volunteers returned with the story about a small child who had fallen into the water pit in Ampoagna. Shedding light on the unfortunate lack of infrastructure experienced in the village. The second event was when Tim attended the opening of a renewed classroom. The classroom was funded by a former MRCI volunteer.

Learn More About MRCI’s Volunteer Community Development Program

This motivated Tim to set up a fundraiser towards a worthy cause in Madagascar. He then got in touch with MRCI founder, David. They discussed which project he would be able to take up upon his return to Germany. The construction of a proper well proved to be suitable, as this need was communicated with MRCI by the Ampoagna village elders.

Another fun fact about Tim, he has a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and spent two years working to raise money for cancer patients in Vancouver. He realised how people donate money with ease, knowing that it was going towards a worthy cause. This gave him the confidence to begin raising the necessary funds for the well.

However, fundraising for a project in a faraway country proved to be more challenging than expected. Fortunately, the legitimacy of MRCI, the well-defined cause and Tim’s past experience convinced the Leo’s Club, a charity society at his university, to make two generous donations. The total sum of around €2500 was promised by friends, family and private sponsors

In June 2018, the construction of the well was initiated. The gradual in-coming of donations helped to build the well over several months. Another factor to consider, is that Ampoagna is quite far out and isolated. Getting materials to and from the village can prove to be a challenge within itself. Rainy season has also stunted the progress. Once the weather clears up, we will continue to work on building a tower above the well. We also plan to add a solar pump, with a pipe going into the clinic and village.

We hope this story inspires other volunteers to take initiative in setting up a project they feel could be realised with the support of MRCI.

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BlogCommunity DevelopmentForest ConservationIsland LifeIsland OutreachMarine ConservationSea Turtle MonitoringTeaching

Volunteers with Silver Linings

January 2020


Our volunteers and programs came to an unfortunate halt this past week. A tropical storm passed over, which made way for an unusual week. Due to poor visibility and high swells our marine volunteers were unable to dive. The turtle conservation volunteers didn’t get to do their active turtle surveys. The muddy and slippery trails meant no hiking for the forest volunteers. Teaching and community volunteers were confined to Turtle Cove Camp, as boat rides and hiking to Ampang became too risky.

Wet season is no joke, and we take all of the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. Despite everything, the positive energy displayed by our volunteers shined through and saved the week. Vibrant new volunteers gave it their all and carried out beach cleans, strengthened their species knowledge through games and lectures, countless bamboo straws and eco brick were also made!


The most significant event of the week was by far our beach clean. We had volunteers from all programs join in and take part. It is the middle of turtle nesting season, and although we have been eagerly awaiting any sign of turtle activity, we’ve received no indication of turtles nesting. So, when we came to find a beach littered with about fifty eggs, it was equally devastating and exciting. Turtle Conservation Manager, Russel, was part of the beach clean-up crew. He was able to offer valuable insights into what had occurred and what it meant for the baby turtles.

Unfortunately, due to the fragility of turtle nests (or clutches), the beached turtle embryos had no chance of survival. Two important and sensitive factors when turtle eggs are laid in their nest would be their orientation within and temperature. These factors ultimately affecting their survival. The harsh storm and exposure on the beach meant that there was no chance of survival for the turtle eggs that we had found. Russel opened a turtle egg and talked everyone through turtle development.


Although a sad experience, our volunteers found it very informative and left with a greater understanding of the many challenges that these animals face. We left our beach as clean as possible and continued our clean ups as much as we could throughout the rest of the week. The energy of our volunteers is unparalleled and we wouldn’t be anything close to what we are without them.


Browse our volunteer programs Here

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Nosy Be Disability Centre - Dream 2
BlogCommunity Development

Nosy Be Disability Centre Dream

Margot Lootens

Nosy Be Disability Centre - Dream 2

Photographs by Sunrise Madagascar

A Dream Comes to Life

The Nosy Be Disability Centre Dream began in 2016, when Nathan Stapley came to Nosy Be for the very first time, as a volunteer. He is originally from the UK and is a trained disabilities teacher. When he first came here he was struck by the lack of accommodation for and adaptation to people with disabilities. What he found was that life in Madagascar and definitely here on the islands of Nosy Be and Nosy Komba is not adapted to people with disabilities. For example roads, pathways and buildings are generally not accessible for people in wheelchair. And as there are no medical or educational facilities for people with disabilities on the island, entire families are affected by this issue. Mainly mothers and siblings are burdened with the constant care for their disabled children or siblings. Therefor, they cannot go to work or school, which marginalizes these families and pushes them further into poverty.

During his stay Nathan soon made friends with some locals and got to talking about the issues he saw. One of them was Gisèle’s grandson. Gisèle is a retired senior researcher at CNRO. Generous and loving as she is, Gisèle invited Nathan over to her place. There, Nathan’s concern with the disabled children on Nosy Be came up in the conversation. Gisèle told him that she has seen how it weighs on the children, their parents and siblings as she herself has a child with disabilities in her extended family. She shares Nathan’s concern with the lack of infrastructure for the disabled on the island. So, the seed for the project was planted within them both in her living room.

Nosy Be Disability Centre - Dream 2

Photographs by Sunrise Madagascar

Upon return, Nathan took action in establishing Sunrise Madagascar as a local NGO which focusses its actions and investments in giving opportunities for people with disabilities on Nosy Be. They also got Lalaine abroad. Lalaine is native Malagasy just like Gisèle, is fluent in English and has experience in working with both international volunteers and people with disabilities. While Nathan was busy fundraising for their project in the UK, Gisèle had laid eyes on a building which could be reconverted into a disability centre near her former work place.

It is only later that MRCI got involved in the project. As local involvement is one of the pillars of our organisation, it was not hard to get everyone on board for this big adventure. With the collaboration, we are able to not only support Nathan’s and Gisèle’s dream, but also to improve it to reach more families. Instead of buying and reconverting the building Gisèle had recruited, MRCI offered to buy an 800 square meter plot of land in a far more accessible location and take charge in constructing a building completely adapted to people with disabilities. Think about slopes instead of steps, bigger door openings and sufficient space to move around with a wheelchair.

Nosy Be Disability Centre - Dream

Photographs by Sunrise Madagascar

And this is where we are at now: MRCI has acquired the land and is currently sitting around the table with an architect specialized in designing healthcare facilities around the world.

Stay tuned for our next post to hear about Nathan’s and Gisèle’s story behind this beautiful initiative. Follow MRCI and Sunrise Madagascar to keep updated on their Nosy Be Disability Centre Dream!

Learn More About Our Community Development Program


Nosy Be Disability Centre
BlogCommunity Development

Nosy Be Disability Centre

Margot Lootens

Nosy Be Disability Centre 

A Big Community Project for 2020

We are excited to announce that we will be collaborating with Sunrise Madagascar to construct and develop the first ever disability centre on Nosy Be! Our MRCI Community Development Volunteers will be actively involved in the construction process, working together with local craftsmen.

Two years ago, Nathan Stapley came up with the idea to build the Nosy Be Disability Centre. After developing the idea further with Gisèle, a retired senior researcher at CNRO on Nosy Be, and Lalaine who has experience in working with people with disabilities, they got in touch with David, the owner of our organization. Immediately, he was convinced that this project was worthy of our support. Nathan, Gisèle, Lalaine and David decided to work out as to what extend MRCI could support the project. This resulted in the current collaboration where MRCI will be responsible for acquiring suitable land and the construction of the building. In return, a local NGO named Sunrise Madagascar was set up to operate the disability centre. On 22 November 2019, the agreement between Sunrise Madagascar and MRCI was signed.

Over the past months we have collected all donations, profits from our merchandise, tuck & drinks monies, washing and weekend trips to be able to buy a suitable plot of land for the construction of the Nosy Be Disability Centre. Apart from acquiring the land, MRCI will also pay the architect and professional constructors and will provide all material for the construction of the building. Furthermore, the construction of the disability centre will be the biggest project for our Community Development Program.

As mentioned before, Sunrise Madagascar will be responsible for the operation of the Nosy Be Disability Centre once it up and running. MRCI volunteers with relevant experience might get the chance to work with the children at the centre as well. The Nosy Be Disability Centre will work with disabled children and their families, educating and offering assistance on how to live with disabilities in an unadapted environment like Nosy Be. We are confident that this project will make a tremendous impact on the children and their families and will open a window of opportunity to a brighter future for them all!

Stay tuned for our next post to hear about Nathan’s and Gisèle’s story behind this beautiful initiative. Follow MRCI and Sunrise Madagascar to keep updated on the Nosy Be Disability Centre!

Learn More About Our Community Development Program