An International Outreach team is heading to Bulgaria, a dam project in India is funded by a Global Grant, a Rotary club is providing hearing aids to the hearing impaired in Dominican Republic, and water projects will be implemented in Cambodia. These are just a few of the many international projects with which District 7780 Rotary clubs are involved. This edition of the International newsletter details these activities, which are funded by Global Grants, Community grants and the donations of individual Rotarians.
The projects featured in this edition of the newsletter are only a few of the projects that are being sponsored by District 7780 Rotary clubs. The district’s International Service Committee would like to hear more about what each of your clubs is doing internationally. To find out more, the committee sent out a survey to all club Presidents, asking if their club has an International Service Chair (The list may be found by clicking on the link at the end of this article), what international projects they are engaged in, if they would like to partner with other clubs (85% responded “yes”) or have a member of the International Service Committee (click link below) speak to their Rotary club (70% said yes).
Currently we are working on an interactive global map that will be posted on District 7780’s website and will show all of the locations where our clubs have worked/are currently working. We hope to be a resource to clubs that might wish to connect with others with similar goals and get information about international service.
Chair, International Service
Anyone wanting more information about a club's international activities may contact their chairperson at:
Barbara and I recently returned from a 7-day trip to Bulgaria where we had a chance to meet and get to know Rotarians there in advance of this year’s Cultural Exchange with District 2482. It was an amazing experience. Our Bulgarian Rotarian friends were terrific hosts and went out of their way to be sure we learned a lot about their country and the many projects Rotary has done and is doing there, and that we had a great time. This is the second year our District has done an exchange with another country with the goal not only of advancing world peace and understanding between peoples and cultures, but also identifying projects where clubs and Rotarians in each country might work together. Last year’s trip to Uganda was very successful and this year’s will be with Bulgaria. In Bulgaria we had the opportunity to meet with individuals making Rotary work: club presidents, assistant governors, past district governors, and regular club members. We were able in a very short time to establish relationships that will be the basis for our future collaboration. Operating directly out of the third part of the Four way Test, we were building "goodwill and better friendships." District 2482 Governor Ilario Astinov and I decided that we would try to identify two projects, one in Bulgaria and one in our district, where we can work together and assist each other. There are 87 Rotary Clubs, over 2,000 Rotarians, and over 50 Rotaract clubs in Bulgaria. Based on our week in this fascinating country, I have no doubt our team is going to have an amazing experience.
Pictured Above: DG Lawrence shares banners in Plovdiv, Bulgaria with three club presidents, an AG who hosted us, and a PDG who presented us with special Bulgarian Rotary pins.
Posted by Lawrence Furbish
2014-15 Cultural Exchange Team with Bulgaria
After culling through 14 applications and interviews, our selection team chose a team of six Rotarians and two alternates for this year’s exchange. It wasn’t an easy task; every applicant had qualities that would have made them a good team member. Thanks to all who applied and to our hard-working selection team (your DG, Peter Johnson, Marge Barker, Barbara Sutcliffe, and Curt Combar). The team consists of David Kitchen, team leader from the Yarmouth RC, Catherine Callahan, from the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth RC, Israel Collins, from the Saco Bay RC, Martha Netsch of the Seacoast Portsmouth RC, Michael Lassel from the South Berwick-Eliot RC, and Ana Maria Gonzalez of the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth RC. Our alternates are Winslow Myers of the Damariscotta-Newcastle RC and Carol Madsen of the Bridgton Lake RC. They will be leaving for Bulgaria on April 1, returning on April 15, and they will give a presentation on their experience at the District Conference on April 25. They will also be available to speak at Rotary clubs if you would like to learn more about their experience. We expect that the Bulgarian Rotarians will be visiting us sometime in June. I urge you to do your best to meet them when they are here.
Posted by Peter Johnson
District 7780 Announces Global Grant Award
We are pleased to announce our latest Global Grant award: a $44,000 project to build a dam in Ashram, India. Project financing from three clubs in three districts, led by Sanford-Springvale with their contribution of $3600, matched with $3600 of District Global Grant DDF. That's the formal part. Now for the fun:
· The area being served has had 206 wells run dry. Permanent reservoir = higher water table = producing wells.
· The new water source will serve 3 villages. "Villages" is so stale: it's actually 4500 people, 2200 livestock, 1800 acres of now irrigable land.
· Crop production is estimated to triple.
· To monitor water usage, access, quality, and more, two self-help groups are being formed, with all the side benefits of an organized community: governance structure, leadership, accounting, due diligence.
· This is the 6th such similar dam project led by Sanford-Springvale. The first one wasn't so clear and took a bit to get in place, but lessons have been learned, and each project seems to improve on the last.
· In Sanford's case, this is part of why they fry chicken livers, and part of their pride of membership with our institution. In my case, it just adds and adds to my pride of wearing a Rotary pin, and knowing that my contributions to The Rotary Foundation are accomplishing some great things. Where else can one person's idea and a bunch of chicken livers result in so very much? I hope you feel the same.
District Announces Spring Grant Management Seminar Dates
District Foundation Committee Chair Peter Johnson has announced the sites for this year's Grant Management Seminars:
Wednesday, March 18, Cumberland Club, Portland (note: This seminar was only recently added to the schedule), 5:30 - 8:00 p.m
Wednesday, April 8, Portsmouth NH Country Club, 5:30 pm
Saturday, May 9, Westbrook ME Middle School, 8:00 am
Wednesday, May 13, Topsham ME American Red Cross, 5:30 pm
All are reminded that any club wishing to originate a request for either Community or Global Grant funds must be qualified to do so, and qualification includes, every year, the requirement to have two club members attend one of these four seminars. Community Grant applications need to be submitted to the district by June 1; Global Grant applications are accepted throughout the year.
Everyone in District 7780 is invited to sponsor a hearing-impaired child in the Dominican Republic. Simply go to the Rotary Action Group (RAG) website for the hearing-impaired www.ifrahl.org and click on the Donate/Join button. Please consider choosing a 3-year membership for $25.00 and donating $75.00 to sponsor a child with severe hearing loss. The child will receive a quality, digital hearing-aid though the International Humanitarian Hearing Aid Purchasing Program. The RAG will then match your donation with a second hearing-aid. Your $100 investment will allow a child to learn to listen and speak, communicate with family and friends, hear the joys of music and the sounds of laughter and attend a regular school and develop this child's potential. The hearing aids will be fitted by Drs. Roger and Liz Fagan as they participate in Portland Rotary's Hearing,Hands & H2O program (3-H) in the Dominican Republic.
Posted by Rich Cromwell
Getting Water Right. A Holistic Approach --- Cambodia 2014
Since 2010, I have ridden my bike across most of the countries in southeast Asia. A roadside encounter with a young orphan boy introduced me to the distressing fate of orphans in Cambodia. Since then, I have made five trips back to Cambodia. Friends and neighbors have made donations to support to my efforts to improve the lives of the Cambodian kids. In 2013, the Bath Rotary Club and District 7780 funded water and sanitation work at the Bridges orphanage in Cambodia through a Community grant.
In 2014, the Bath Rotary club applied for a "Springboard" grant which funded another trip to Cambodia. Five villages were visited to study water and sanitation problems (which have trapped the villagers in a cycle of poverty) and possible solutions.
Picture on Left: Lieb, my translator and surveyor extraordinaire, conducting an interview
Picture on Right: Kids at typical dug well in Smach