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Coronavirus/COVID-19: Currently we are continuing our programmes in Madagascar, but we need your support. Coronavirus Appeal

Volunteer stories: Valerie's story

Valerie Francis

My reasons for coming to teach with SEED Madagascar were simple. I wanted to learn to become a better teacher. Having qualified to teach English as a foreign language 2 years previously, I wanted the opportunity to teach in an environment where there were limited materials, so that I could become more resourceful and learn to think on my feet in the classroom. It was so much easier than I expected. Despite class sizes of 60-70 children of mixed abilities, they were lively but well behaved and eager to learn. It made the work a real pleasure.

I chose Madagascar as a destination because it is an island, and coming from Britain I never like to be too far from the sea, so a land locked country was not an option for me. The climate was appealing, not too hot or humid for my liking. SEED Madagascar also fitted into my ideals – a sustainable organisation which practises what it preaches. A mixture of international and local staff who are an absolute pleasure to work with. I have made some good friends here.

After my initial donation, flight and medical costs, I came with a budget. £1000 has been more than enough to last me 3 months.

I limited my time to 3 months, as it seemed a good stretch, but it has not been enough. The time has flown by. I have been so happy here. It is a colourful, vibrant, friendly place to be. There is poverty, but not misery. There is always something special to do and see and many beautiful places to visit. I am already planning to come back.

I had a variety of working opportunities – one-to-one, small classes, large classes in schools, English centres, for tour guides and at the tourist office. I have really been able to grow us as a teacher here and SEED Madagascar were keen to let me make my own choices, to ensure the experience was a positive one. I would not hesitate to recommend coming to teach English in Madagascar. I am 47 years old and after spending 10 years working in local government, I took redundancy and changed career. It has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have been whale watching, explored caves, snorkelled around reefs, climbed rocks, spent time reading, swam in waterfalls, cycled in tropical forests, danced at weddings and at a music festival (with only a 75p entry fee) relaxed on beautiful beaches, fed dancing lemurs and been on a road trip to the southern- most tip of Madagascar; my SEED Madagascar and Malagsy friends and I stood at the tip with the whole country behind us.


Interested in joining our English programme? Find out more and apply here.