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SIMpray Kids fun facts – Madagascar

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries of the world with 70-80% of the population considered to be living below the poverty line. Despite this, Madagascar is a country rich in culture and in beauty.

In the grand scheme of things, people only settled in Madagascar fairly recently, perhaps as late as 500 AD. (This is 300,000 years later than people settled in Africa for example.) This may be why Madagascar is considered ‘Megadiverse’ – a number of species can be found here that do not exist anywhere else in the world, like the tenrec Ethan and Jamie found in their garden (pictured below)! Here are just a few:

The giraffe-necked weevil has a long neck to help it roll leaves into tubes for its eggs and the aye-aye lemur has a long middle finger to help it find grubs hiding inside trees. Madagascar is home to more than half the world’s chameleons and dozens of species of lemur. No wonder Ethan and Jamie find the wildlife fascinating. Isn’t it incredible that God created all these creatures so uniquely and many more we’ve never even heard of?!

Image by Maximilian Weisbecker

During the 1700s, just like many places off the African coast, pirates loved Madagascar – they hid their treasure in the many caves of the island. They especially loved the island of Sainte-Marie, just a few kilometres off Madagascar’s east coast. This was referred to as “the island of pirates” on maps at the time.

Image by Yasmine Arfaoui

During the 1800s, Queen Ranavalona ruled over Madagascar. She attempted to get rid of all the Christians on the island. According to the Joshua Project, there are still 436,000 people in Madagascar who have never heard the story of Jesus.

Image by Aaron Burden

Can you imagine not being able to read and understand the Bible because it wasn’t available in English? There are 18 people groups in Madagascar and 25 languages. The Bible is only available in one – Official Malagasy. A Bible translation project is helping bring local people and mission workers together to translate the Bible into 12 other languages.

Activity time…

The Bible is full of amazing stories that help us learn more about God. What is your favourite Bible story? Our friends at Wycliffe Bible Translators have created a Bible Story Cube to help you think more deeply about what you read in the Bible and to help you pray. Click here to download your Bible Story Cube.