international projectsThere are a number of ways to help with international projects.

Service trips to Latin America and Africa are great fun and extremely rewarding — they will truly change your life. You will see how little most people in the world have, and that a small amount of money and effort thoughtfully applied can make an enormous difference. You will also see that there are many lessons for us visitors to learn from the people there. A lucky community might have one soccer ball for all of the kids to share and virtually no other possessions for entertaining themselves. Yet they do entertain themselves and find much joy in life.

When international volunteers go into an area for the first time the people are usually shy and reticent. By the time the volunteers leave, they have been invited into people’s houses, introduced to grandparents and children, and are honored at celebrations. You can see how non-tourist economy people really live and start to understand their joys and challenges.

All of the organizations below need help. There are often local opportunities to serve as well as international volunteer opportunities.

We are also participants in Rotary Youth Exchange and the fight to eradicate polio.

This Month’s Highlights

Friendship Exchange 

The team for South Africa has been chosen and had its first team meeting recently. This is a team of 8. Their guest questionnaires have been sent to the South Africa District chair.

The Canadian team from Canada Atlantic States will arrive May 18th and travel to Newport,  Eugene (hosted by the Springfield club), and then to Roseburg. They are here until June 2nd.

The Pakistani exchange is again on hold with a possibility of them coming here in March if we get team names in the next month so team members needing US visas can apply.

The Louisiana exchange is also on hold but will happen in 2024 as their new chair takes over. 

The Philippine exchange will happen potentially In March 2024 but they are also transitioning to a new chair. Communications have begun. 

Applications for RFEs are always available on the district website or under Files on DACdb. 

Hospital Supply 

The highlight of this month’s surplus medical supply and equipment report was Yulia  Brockdorf’s presentation at Southtowne Rotary’s April 13th meeting. Yulia is very involved with the Ukrainian Foundation in the Portland Oregon area. She has been CardioStart’s and  Southtowne’s primary contact in arranging shipments of medical supplies and equipment to  Ukraine. Thus far, 87 pallets of surplus supplies and equipment have been air freighted to  Ukraine plus at least one surface container. Her presentation gave our membership a very good grasp of the positive impact of our work. 

New member Jocelyn Bonner and her husband James have joined the weekly surplus medical supply sorting team. They join Dr. Emma Lee Junior, Katie Thomas, Lonny King, Susan  Pfanner and John Pfanner. 

The International Way warehouse in Springfield is full. We are somewhat impatiently waiting to ship out shipments to Ukraine and Ecuador. John Pfanner has located a source of surplus medical equipment so as soon as there is room in the Springfield warehouse we will be able to obtain some more invaluable medical equipment.

Peace Committee

No report received.

South Valley Rotary Grant Committee (SVRGC)

SVRGC did not meet this month and we are awaiting a request for grant monies to be sent  to identified club once their global grant is approved (we have $1050 set aside for this). 

World Community Service Committee

The Steelys have just returned from Rwanda and their District Grant Final Report is due.  Their project has expanded to India and Cambodia and they are requesting funding from major donors. 

Project Amigo, Colima, Mexico- Coordinator Dora Zuniga will be presenting in May at our lunch meeting. This will be a good opportunity for all to hear about the 30-year project in 

Colima that our club has been supporting. There is a room for Project Amigo students in the  Colima University dorm named after Dick and Sally Briggs who were instrumental in starting this whole program for Southtowne. Every few years a group from Southtowne has visited there for a work week. We hope to do that again in the next few years. Individual members continue to support students there and Southtowne Rotary provides yearly funds to Project Amigo. Check needs to be sent or given to Dora… 

San Miguel de Allende School for the Deaf was started by a Rotary Club there 10 years ago,  driven by John and Sharon Doherty’s outstanding leadership. Southtowne has supported several  District Grants to assist vocational training efforts there at the school. Groups and individuals have visited and worked with the students there. The last trip was in January 2020, when fifteen members/spouses from Southtowne visited. We helped with sewing projects, carpentry, and painting. The school has recently requested $510 for a STEM kit to help with the students’  technological skills. (NEEDS BOARD APPROVAL) 

A new proposal for a project in West Africa was just submitted by Jocelyn Bonner. She would like it to be considered for a District Grant. She has been attending the Grant meetings and is willing to develop the grant proposal. Monies would be used to purchase psychiatric medications for individuals with mental illness in conjunction with an NGO that provides mental health care. Because International is second priority for grants this year, WCS Committee Chair Kathi Hoffer is proposing that the club provide $2000 this year and $2000 next year towards this  Project. Project description is attached. 

Budget items needing attention for this year: send checks to Project Amigo ($1000), San  Miguel de Allende School for the Deaf ($810), and Mental Health in West Africa ($2000). The last two need board approval. 

For next year

Rwanda English Project – $500 
Project Amigo – $1000 
School for Deaf – $500 
Mental Health W Africa – $2000 
SVRGGC – $1050 
Peace Committee – $250