Norwich man gives up his year’s holiday to help repair school in Madagascar

A young man with an exciting career gave up his entire year's holiday allowance from work to repair a school in Madagascar.

Daniel Wood, 24, who lives near Sussex Street, Norwich, is a computer science graduate and web developer for special effects company FXhome, on St Giles Street.

During May the hard-working former University of Kent student decided that rather than book a relaxing fortnight in the sun, he wanted to do something a bit different.

On a whim he typed 'volunteer Africa' into the internet search engine Google, and found a wealth of different opportunities.

But the one that struck him most was a website for volunteer charity Azafady, who work to empower the people of Madagascar.

He says he found the charity's approach sincere, and liked the sound of the projects they are involved in on the south-east African island.

So in the search for something a bit different, he found himself in the midst of a life-changing experience.

Most Read

Mr Wood said: 'I know it sounds clich�d and cheesy, but it was an experience that I will never forget.

'Volunteering for Azafady was one of the best things I've ever done in my life and I'd encourage everyone to have a look at what the charity's all about. Volunteering for them isn't just about doing something to help others, it is an adventure that you will always remember.'

As part of his work in the country, Mr Wood worked with locals employed by the charity on construction work and repairs to a school, which provides education for children in a remote bush community.

A whizz with computers, Mr Wood is also at home with nature and worked alongside translators to teach the school's children, aged 6-13 about the importance of the animals around them.

He also helped teach English and took part in a malaria education lesson.

'Everything about it was a highlight really. It is a really unique experience when you go out to a place like that, where people have far less than we do,' said Mr Wood.

'They just get by on what they have, and sometimes it is not enough. But they are so friendly, ridiculously so, and if they are about they will grab a spade and help out.'

As well as the hard work, Mr Wood ended up dancing with locals, hand-feeding lemurs, swimming on isolated coral reefs and tucking into local delicacies.

'The surroundings were like something out of Jurassic Park – it was unbelievable,' added Mr Wood.

To learn more about Daniel's trip visit his blog at danielgwood.com/blog or the Azafady website at www.madagascar.co.uk

Have you been on an adventure? Contact Joe Wilkes on 01603 772 439 or email joe.wilkes@archant.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter