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Help Needed for Madagascar Ankizy Fund [Humanitarian Dinosaurs in Action!]



Most of you have probably heard about the phenomenal fossil discoveries made
by the Stony Brook University/U of Antananarivo expeditions to the Upper
Cretaceous Maevarano Formation around Berivotra, Madagascar as part of the
Mahajanga Basin Project--Masiakasaurus, Rahonavis, Majungatholus,
Simosuchus, and others. However, many of you may not know about an
associated humanitarian effort: The Madagascar Ankizy Fund
(http://www.ankizy.org).

The Madagascar Ankizy Fund (MAF) was founded in 1998 by vertebrate
paleontologist Dave Krause, principal investigator on the Mahajanga Basin
Project, in response to a need for education and healthcare in the Berivotra
field area and other remote areas of Madagascar. "Ankizy" means "children"
in the Malagasy language.  Prior to the building of Sekoly Riambato (The
"Stony Brook School," in Malagasy), none of the children (or their parents)
in the village could read or write. Since the opening of Sekoly Riambato in
2001, two classes of students have graduated, many of them continuing on for
secondary education in Marovoay.  More recently, MAF has built another
school in southeastern Madagascar and renovated an orphanage in the city of
Mahajanga.  MAF has also been responsible for coordinating medical and
dental clinics in the Berivotra area and other parts of Madagascar. A large
medical/dental team, with volunteer healthcare workers from Stony Brook
University, will accompany the paleontological research team to Madagascar
this summer.

Through the generous support of a number of individuals and organizations,
MAF has been able to provide many of these services. However, the work does
not stop once a school is built or a clinic held. Money is needed to pay
teacher's salaries and for school supplies. Buildings must be repaired and
kept up. Medicines and supplies must be bought for clinics and Malagasy
doctors and dentists must be trained.

Thus, I am writing to the Dinosaur Mailing List for help. We are looking for
anyone - teachers, scientists, students of any level, private citizens,
social or religious groups - who might be able to help raise money for MAF.
Even the smallest amount of money goes a long way! For instance, the annual
salary of a Malagasy teacher is $500.  A number of grade school classes have
raised money as group projects. Of course, direct donations from individuals
or businesses are also appreciated. We are in an especially important
fundraising period now, as another expedition (with medical/dental staff) is
slated for this coming summer.

In the summer of 2003, I was fortunate enough to spend a field season on the
Mahajanga Basin Project. In addition to finding a ton of Masiakasaurus
material (reported by Matt Carrano and others at the latest SVP), I got to
know many of the residents of Berivotra, and even work alongside some of
them. Many of the children of Berivotra are the first members of their
families ever to go to school. It is quite powerful to see the immense
differences between life in that part of Madagascar and North America - but
equally moving to see how many things we have in common.

For further information, please contact me (andyfarke@hotmail.com) or David
Krause (dkrause@notes.cc.sunysb.edu) off-list. Direct contributions can be
sent to: Madagascar Ankizy Fund/284300, Department of Anatomical Sciences,
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8081. The fund is administered
through the Stony Brook Foundation, the not-for-profit wing of Stony Brook
University, and all contributions are tax deductible.

Thank you!

Andy Farke
________________________________
Andrew A. Farke, Graduate Student
Department of Anatomical Sciences
Stony Brook University
T8 040 Health Sciences Center
Stony Brook, NY  11794-8081
 
Phone: 631-444-7364
Email: afarke@ic.sunysb.edu