A while ago, I was discussing the consequences of the local hospital being closed with the manager of the health board at a Rotary club lunch. I asked what would happen to all the equipment?
This led to large quantities of equipment, from hospital beds to seemingly mundane items such as drip stands, being collected by Rotarians, packed in containers, and shipped to the Philippines.
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The storage and shipping were funded by my Rotary club in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, jointly with a grant from The Rotary Foundation.
Fast forward a few months and a visit to the Philippines. We are driving along the valley floor in sub-tropical heat of a post-rainstorm Philippines’ day, surrounded by lush rice paddies, mango plantations and farmers working in the fields.
Beyond the fields on either side the hills rose steeply, generally covered in trees. Worryingly, in the distance, we could see a vivid brown scar through the trees.
I have seen the value of the work of Rotarians supported by Rotary Foundation grants. I know how much care is taken to ensure our funds are spent wisely.”
A landslide had been triggered by recent heavy rains. Thousands of tons of rock, soil and debris had swept down the hillside to completely bury the village of Guinsaugon under several feet of mud.
The village school had been buried, along with every one of the children. It was estimated that over 1,200 people died.
We had come to visit the health care centres and clinics in the region around Guinsaugon, knowing that much of the medical equipment from the Leicestershire hospital had been sent to the area.
The Rotary moment came when a woman in one of the clinics came towards me. She was cradling a very young baby in her arms, smiled at me and indicated the maternity bed and other equipment around us. She said: “Thank you for the equipment, with that, you saved my baby.”
It was at that moment in the remote valley in the Philippines that I truly felt the power of Rotary and the value of our own charity, The Rotary Foundation, in helping us all to make the world a better place.
Millions of dollars pour into projects created by Rotarians and clubs.
These figures from the past year show that contributing to The Rotary Foundation really makes a difference to people’s lives both at home and overseas:
- Clubs in Great Britain and Ireland received approval for 295 projects worth $6.5 million.
- 138 of these projects were large projects receiving Global Grants. The remainder were funded with District Grants.
- The largest project was funded to the tune of $146,000.
- The projects were all over the world including about 200 taking place in GB&I.
I am proud of being a Rotarian and of donating to our own charity, The Rotary Foundation.
Why? I have seen the value of the work of Rotarians supported by Rotary Foundation grants. I know how much care is taken to ensure our funds are spent wisely.
I am reassured to know that well over 90% of the funds we donate go direct to the beneficiaries of our projects.
Are you equally proud? Do you donate personally or as a club? Is The Rotary Foundation your own charity of choice?
I ask you to become a Sustaining Member, join the Paul Harris Society, include The Rotary Foundation in your will.
In these difficult times, the world needs The Rotary Foundation more than ever.