I was proud to be invited to be interviewed recently by the Get Inspired Project … a wonderful idea; 365 people interviewed over 365 days on inspiration …

this went live online yesterday – interview number 337 … you can listen online or you can read a transcript of the whole interview
here on the Get Inspired Project website

I’ve never done anything like that before … but this seems to be a year of first’s and it ties in with the story behind this blog so seemed appropriate to put a link on this blog.

You will also be amused to know that they generate a graphic for every Interview having listened to and reflected on what was said, the graphic they generated for my interview was this!!!

If what I say in my interview inspires you, then please consider a donation to the wonderful Kitchen Table Charities Trust click here

thank you!


The Ambohitrakely bridge and school inaugurations were such big news locally that they were one of the lead items on both the Malagasy and French language news reports on TVM the day after. This is the clip from the French speaking news broadcast. Thanks to journalists at TVM for sending it through.

I’m sure you’ll recognise some of the cast of characters from my blog about the day Bridging The Gap – Brian Donaldson cuts the ribbon alongside the man from the Ministry in his fabulous suit. The straw hat and wafty dress behind are modelled by yours truly!!

The following clip is our video of the bridge opening … it captures a little more of the local band’s music and the windy, red dusty day.

Madagascar needs another 3000 primary schools in order to offer a start in life to every child. Projects like this only exist with thanks to charities like MDF and the Kitchen Table Charities Trust.

You can donate to KTCT here http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley

3 days this time and I’m on the plane to Antananarivo …

so much to get done in the meantime and not helped by the fact that my irritating auto immune system has caused my knee to swell up again – or was it the dancing in cowboy boots on Saturday night in Brixton, or falling over at Kings Cross running for the train last night. Humph- AND we’ve a new government in the UK to get my head around.

Anyway – looking forward to sitting back on the plane and breathing a big sigh of relief having crammed about a year’s work, a hair cut, packing, physio, knee inspection, lawn mowing, conference attending and so on before Saturday evening … am thinking that my case will have to be squashed shut rather than the neat flat packing we are all encouraged to do by those annoyingly perfect people on the TV.

Have given out millions of my little cards so far leading people to this page – so hello if that’s how you found me here – and don’t forget to click the big donate button on http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley … I’m going to raise awareness of the social issues in Madagascar and the immense poverty and the amazing work that the Kitchen Table Charities Trust have been able to support out there (mainly through the Madagascar Development Fund)

So – you just have to read and click donate and send words of encouragement – I have to get there, deal with it all, blog, tweet, facebook (yes there is a Kitchen Table Charities Trust page on Facebook) and shout all I can about what I find there AND try and deal with the 740 species of spider that will be waiting just behind Brian Donaldson to meet me off the plane on Sunday lunch time.

Frustrated by the UK election results?

Concerned Clegg will sell your soul to Cameron?

Don’t believe anything you do can make a difference to the world?

You can make a huge difference – here’s how:

* In many poor countries children cannot go to school unless they have uniforms. It costs just £4 in Tanzania to provide two uniforms and a few exercise books and pens for a child – but when you are dirt poor that’s a huge sum.

Four pounds can change a life
* There are millions of people who are blind from cataracts and, therefore, utterly destitute. A charity hospital in Dar es Salaam will perform a cataract operation for £10 – not that they turn anyone away.

Ten pounds to see again.
* Tens of millions of people contract the worst form of malaria because they have no protection against mosquitoes. It costs less than £1 to supply someone with a mosquito net impregnated with insecticide.

One pound to protect someone from a deadly disease.
* It costs as little as £25 to help a woman buy a reconditioned sewing machine so that she can run a little business and feed her family.

Twenty-five pounds to give a family a future
* It costs approximately £500 to build two water points that will provide a decent water supply for a village of a few hundred people. This means the women and children no longer have to walk many miles every day to collect water that is often rank and disease-ridden.

Five hundred pounds to transform a village
* It costs £35 to cover all school costs for a child in primary school for a year.

A child who can read is a child with a future.
* For £100 a year a teenage boy girl can be taught a skill – carpentry or dressmaking or even computer skills. They become self-sufficient and the whole community benefits. The future looks brighter.

£100 for a real chance in life.

Please click donate … thank you so much


So far I’ve raised over £1200 for Kitchen Table Charities Trust to support projects like those outlined here – I want to get to £5000 – please help … this time you really can make a huge difference – every penny goes to the people who need it most.

(c) Ellie Stoneley & Kitchen Table Charities Trust 2010


My pre election nerves are setting in …I really really hope that all who are elected in both the UK and Mauritian elections, will strive to improve conditions, not just locally, but in so many parts of the world where so little can help the lives of so many.

There are two things I would really like people to do on 6th May if they are UK (or Mauritian) voters…

but first an update on a revoltingly hectic whirl at Ellie HQ … Having failed to fly on the intended date due to interference from the volcano (Madagascar flight now rescheduled for 15th May – hurrah), I’ve been making full use of my time… list in no particular order;

– hen weekend in Birmingham (Janice)
– christening in Bexleyheath ( #babyJoe )
– floors sanded and first coat of varnish applied
– work work work (and looking for work from end June)
– gardening, picking up sticks and peering at tadpoles in Mother’s pond
– doing website for the Friends of Stourbridge Common
– taken to theatre for the Glass Menagerie
– took friend for her birthday trip to theatre for Guys and Dolls (surely an inspiration for Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus)
– trying to unswell my re-swollen knee (booooo)
– being elected onto the PCC at church
– walking on very ugly but wonderful MBT shoes to help flakey knees
– trying to get huge stain out of carpet
– drinking small lake of Margaritas
– finding lots of Malagasy twitterers
– team building with globaltolerance
– learning how to best use the Flip camera that wonderful Simon Berry from http://www.ColaLife.org lent me for the trip
– looking at old photos of my parents in a life long before I landed when they were black and white pictured and setting off on their own adventures in Africa
– considering social enterprise and government
– organising two conferences
– burning toast

ooohhhh and most importantly I have been busy FUNDRAISING … currently around £1200 raised for Kitchen Table Charities Trust – huge thanks to all who have helped so far, hugely hugely appreciated – but I want more – aiming to raise £5000
http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley please click donate and encourage everyone else to as well!!!

So – back to where I started… Two small things from which, as the song goes, big things will come…

If you only do two things on election day 6th May 2010 then make them these two:
VOTE – vote with pride, vote from your heart and vote for compassion (people fought and died for the right to vote)


CLICK DONATE http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley
– thank you – sorry to be cheeky – it’s all in an incredibly good cause as you will read on the just giving page.

Having done both of the above, the rest of the day is yours and you will feel so much happier!!

On tap

Just look at the expression on these children’s faces – the first time ever in their village that they had been able to access fresh water by turning on a tap and not walking for 2 hours to fetch it from a well in the hills above the village – all for the cost of £1,700.

Go on click donate and vote!

Thank you
Copyright © 2010 Ellie Stoneley

The phrase that the Kitchen Table Charities Trust use under their name on the website is “changing lives by thinking small” …

this inspires me every day … and it also bought to mind a song by Bruce Springsteen, who also inspires me most days; “From small things mama, big things one day come”

so I think this blog wouldn’t be complete with a down and dirty, grubby recording of it that I have found on YouTube  … so here for your delectation is Springsteen performing ‘Small Things’

So – go and make a small donation – from that huge things can come – lives can be changed … read some of the examples from the KTCT website; as little as £4 can change a life.


Big hurrah for Air Mauritius who have been extraordinarily helpful … flight rebooked for Sunday 15th May.

So – volcano – start behaving please, simmer down and stop with the whole ash cloud thing – thank you.

Brian Donaldson has been so helpful on the ground in Madagascar and is replanning the schedule of visits to projects – and has fitted in a weekend break at Vakona Forest Lodge to look at some lemurs which will be exciting (if a little expensive but hey this really is a tremendous opportunity) … I have totally self funded my trip and pay for own accommodation out there … all the money raised (now £925 – on the justgiving page) goes directly to the Kitchen Table Charities Trust (and has gift aid added to it – so all the more reason to donate).


So strange sitting here on a very windy blustery blue kind of day in Cambridge knowing that as I type Brian is at the inauguration of the Water treatment centre with all the villagers and so on… I hope it is a glorious day there and so look forward to seeing all the photos.