The story of Alana Cutland, while making headlines globally, stirred a remarkable response in a remote village in Madagascar. For the villagers and farmers, the priority lay in the urgency of extending a helping hand to a family in need by finding and helping get Alana back home. Alana’s family channeled their grief into a dual mission: supporting students at Cambridge through a fundraising campaign and expressing gratitude to the village that stood by them. The Madagascar program challenge, however, lay in finding an organization capable of turning their vision into reality.
Here is where BBS entered as we previously collaborated with renowned environmentalist Celine Cousteau on a school gardening initiative in a village outside the capital of Madagascar. Through a fortuitous Google search, Mr. Cutland discovered BBS and its impactful work. Leveraging BBS’s established network in Madagascar, a crucial partnership formed with Mr. Cédric de Foucault, the former GM of the Anjajavy Hotel, who became an invaluable BBS volunteer. His intricate understanding of the region proved essential in navigating the project’s complexities.
The journey to rebuild the school did have its challenges. Unexpected hurdles, from crumbling walls necessitating a complete rebuild to Mother Nature not cooperating to logistics challenges to soaring concrete prices, highlighted the formidable task at hand. Transportation obstacles, including canoe journeys carrying materials like metal sheets and concrete, underscored the dedication of all involved. The commitment to Alana’s legacy, the family as well as their friends and donors remained steadfast.
Slowly but steadily the rebuild took shape and on July 29, 2023, the school’s inauguration became a symbol of triumph and unity, celebrated with a community event known as a Joro. Beyond its physical structure, the school embodies a transformative gift – an opportunity for students to learn in an environment that honours Alana’s memory and enhances their education. Students who once had their lessons outdoors now have access to a safe and conducive space for learning. This legacy extends beyond brick and mortar, forever intertwining Alana’s memory with the village’s narrative.
For Business for Better Society, the successful completion of this project is a source of immense pride. It underscores our commitment to making a tangible difference where others may falter. This endeavour showcased the strength of our global community coming together to support a remarkable family and to honour the memory of an extraordinary young woman.
The journey from a general inquiry to a fully realized legacy stands as a testament to the transformational power of unity, compassion, and dedicated teamwork. Through the collective efforts of many incredible people, a tragedy has been transformed into a living legacy, ensuring that Alana’s memory will continue to inspire and uplift for generations to come.
The fundraising page opened by the Cutland family in Alana’s memory remains open and if you wish to support the bursary set-up at Cambridge for girls in STEM education or one of the other projects designated by the Cutland family, please click here.