Posted by Mary Tennant, Chair International Service Committee
International Service Projects Have Enormous Impact
As the 20114-15 Rotary year concludes, Rotarians in District 7780 can be proud of the many successful international projects that have been completed. A District Outreach trip to Bulgaria and grant projects in Zambia, India and Cambodia are among the many accomplishments.
Things are not slowing down as we go forward into the new year. As a result of the District Outreach trip to Uganda last year, a successful Global Grant has been approved which will facilitate a group of young Ugandans to come to our district to participate in a “train the trainer” program. This program will help develop skills and strategies that the participants will take back to Uganda. They will use their new skills to develop a program in leadership and conflict resolution, similar to “Friends Forever”. The anticipated travel date of the group is early fall.
This edition of the International Newsletter features an article by PDG Carolyn Johnson, who writes about a Global Grant application which will request funding for a medical shipment and a Vocational Training Team to go to the newly constructed cancer center in Kampala, Uganda. Another article describes a literacy project in Guatemala. These two projects offer potential (the VTT will need skilled participants) travel opportunities.
For those Rotarians who would like to assist internationally, but on a smaller scale and closer to home, read the article about “Wrap A Smile.” Or the one written by a member of the Bath Sunrise RC, which describes how they helped the earthquake victims in Nepal. This small Rotary club certainly lives up to its’ motto “The little club that connects in big ways.”
As always, if you have questions about how to get more involved internationally feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the other members of the International Service Committee.
Posted by Carolyn Johnson
DISTRICT 7780 PROPOSES GLOBAL GRANT
FOR UGANDA CANCER CENTER
When you get involved with Rotary, you never know what will happen as a result. Eighteen months ago, I visited Uganda to set up our district International Outreach project. It was a planning trip for 6 District Rotarians - all musicians - to spend two weeks there the following spring. While I was there, Rotarians told me about their dream, their plan to build a cancer center in Uganda. They explained that cancer, particularly cervical and breast cancer, is one of the greatest health challenges in their country and that cancer kills more people in Uganda than does TB, Malaria, and HIV/AIDS combined. More than 70% of people diagnosed with cancer are already in the advanced stages of the disease (4th stage) at the time of their initial diagnosis. Yet, Uganda lacks sufficient treatment centers.
Rotarians in Uganda are actively providing preventive cancer measures. Clubs regularly offer community awareness campaigns throughout the country. With the support of qualified medical personnel and other local partners, free counseling and cancer testing services are offered. In 2014, Rotarians held 15 cancer camps serving over 10,000 people, primarily women. But they want to do more and have taken a project of constructing a 38 bed unit focused primarily on breast, cervical, and prostate cancer.
The conversation progressed. “could our district help?” they asked. Rotarians in Uganda locally raised the funds to build the building on the campus of St Francis Nsambia Hospital, but it is an empty shell. Would D7780 Rotarians help with a Global Grant to help provide the equipment needed to open the cancer center and get it functioning? How could I say no?
The result is a proposed Global Grant that will provide basic equipment for the cancer center (we’re talking basics - beds, IV poles, lifts, exam tables) and a Vocational Training Team to provide the medical and technical assistance needed for the center to become functional. We will partner with Partners for World Health, in South Portland, who will provide the equipment. It will all be used, but serviceable equipment from area hospitals and medical facilities. We intend to ship three containers - at a cost of about $50,000 but containing approximately $750,000 in usable medical equipment needed by the center. The Vocational Training Team will consist of of nurses, doctors and administrators (first drawing from Rotarians with the necessary expertise) will travel to Uganda to do training with the staff at Nsambia Hospital and then a team of staff from the cancer clinic will come to our district for additional training.
Last September, Peter and I, along with Elizabeth McLellan (Director, Partners for World Health) went to Uganda to identify the next steps on the cancer center grant. We participated in their major fundraiser for this project - a 5K run that involved more than 20,000 participants and raised more than $125,000!!! Ugandan Rotarians know how to work together and promote Rotary! Most impressive are the number of clubs working together and actively involved - this isn’t just the effort of one club.
The grant is about to be submitted. York Rotary has agreed to be the international partner and RC Sesse Islands Kampala is the host club. We are seeking other district clubs to be involved. There will be opportunity for local Rotarians (with appropriate professional background) to apply to participate on the outbound VTT and opportunity for local clubs and Rotarians to help plan for the inbound VTT and host them when they come to visit medical facilities in our district.
In the words of Rotarians Stephen Mwanje and Dr Martin Nsubuga, leaders of the cancer center initiative, “cancer screening results (in Uganda) are really terrifying.” It is an honor to work with them to make the Uganda Rotary Cancer Center a reality - and to make a significant difference in the lives of so many people.
For more information - or to become involved in the grant, contact Carolyn Johnson email@example.com
Posted by Kerstin Kirchner
Posted by Alexander Mesrobian, President-Elect
Bath Sunrise Rotary Club Assists Nepal Earthquake Victims
The Bath Sunrise Rotary Club has traditionally been very interested in International project goals and also disaster relief, at least to the extent that Rotary can participate. We have, in the past, donated shelter boxes to other global disasters including the earthquake in Haiti and the typhoon in the Philippines.
When we heard about the devastating earthquake with massive destruction and loss of life in Nepal, we felt compelled to do something about it. We also learned that for a limited period of time Shelter Box USA would match a donation, specifically for the purpose of the Nepal earthquake.
Consequently, we were able to muster up $1,000.00, by conducting our May yard sale. That amount is approximately the cost of one complete shelter box. We made it just under the wire so that our donation was matched, so essentially two shelter boxes have gone over the Nepal from our club.
A short time later, we learned that there was a second after-shock or earthquake with additional loss of life and devastation, making this need for housing and aide ongoing.
We have had a representative from Shelter Box USA demonstrate the contents of a kit at one of our club meetings, and we were all very impressed at how efficient one of these containers can be in fabricating essentially an entire home, with essential necessities of living that can accommodate an entire family or several people. Certainly, Shelter Box USA, in my opinion, is one of the most efficient helpful ways to help in the face of a natural disaster.
At Sunrise Rotary, we are very happy to have been able to participate and also take advantage of the opportunity to have our donation matched. We certainly look forward to participating in shelter box donations in the future.
Posted by Kerstin Kirchner
Learning Best Through Experience
The majority of children learn best by using a variety of strategies; however, children in developing countries like Guatemala are not so fortunate, and do not have these strategies accessible. In Guatemala only 3 out of 10 children graduate from 6th grade. Practically 25% of the country’s population is illiterate, and the number jumps to 60% among the Mayan population. Teachers do not have the training to emphasize reading comprehension and critical thinking. Likewise, students have no access to textbooks and story books because parents barely have enough funds for the family’s daily needs.
Thus, the mission of the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) an initiative between Rotary Clubs and Cooperative for Education is to provide textbooks, computer labs, scholarships, and literacy and training programs to children in Guatemala. Since 1998, over 23,000 students at more than 300 schools received the needed support.
A big thank you to 28 Rotary Clubs in our District that have/had participated in Global Grants and donated a total of $32,000 through the beginning of 2015.
However, the Mayan schools need a lot more; for example, the Paraíso community asked our District for help to build toilets for the school. They are looking for about $2200, which will cover the cost of the materials (block, cement, rebar, sand…) the parents will do the construction. The school has two toilets for 150 students, but needs to construct four more to accommodate the school enrollment and provide toilets designated for the girls. There is no Rotary club in the immediate area.
The school, Paraíso, is one of the CORP schools. It is a rural village, a very beautiful but remote area. Our PDG, Carolyn Johnson, founder of the Culture of Reading Program, began working in the school in January 201
4, so is now in our second school year with them. She is working with grades 1-2 and 3-4 right now (will pick up 5-6 next January) and will continue to work with the school for two more years.
If Rotarians are interested, there could certainly be opportunity to visit the caserío (village), school, and establish an ongoing relationship with the community in October 2015.
If you are interested in helping to raise the necessary funds for the toilets (no amount is too small) or would like to travel to Guatemala, please contact Kerstin Kirchner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207.807.0367.
Rotary stands #UpForSchool
An estimated 58 million children around the world don't have access to basic education. Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors are taking action to change that by participating in the Stand #UpForSchool petition initiative, which proclaims every child’s right to go to school, without danger or discrimination.