Currently our two main areas of support are Solar aid in Zambia and School in the Bag in Nepal
Rotary Club of Cheltenham North
The Club helps many organisations and people world-wide. Currently the two main projects organised by the International Committee are School in the Bag and Solar Aid.
The Committee are currently fundraising to provide school bags for children in Nepal and through the charity” School in a Bag” and also to provide solar lighting to schools and health clinics in Zambia through the charity “Solar Aid”.
The ‘Solar Aid’ project has been led by PP Peter Keenan. Much has been achieved. Over the last twelve months solar lights have been purchased with Club funds, and initially partly with money from a District Grant, for lamps for rural Zambia.
Peter has been able to purchase lamps from the charity SolarAid and these have been distributed by our Rotary colleagues from the Rotary Club of Lusaka. The most recent distribution was made to light up fourteen large clinics and twelve smaller ones, twenty six in total, covering a large area in and around the Lusaka province.
Previously none of these clinics had any electricity at all. At night patients were attended to, including mothers delivering babies, in candle light or by kerosene lamp light. Solar lamps have also been given to Traditional Health Workers, rural midwives for use when delivering babies in the mothers’ own homes. The lights for the 26 clinics were purchased at a cost of just short of £2500 which was provided entirely by the Rotary Club of Cheltenham North. As a result hundreds of poor Zambians are being benefitted every night during the usual twelve hours of darkness.
It is fair to say that this is a worthy achievement for the RCCN 's International Committee particularly when added to what was achieved initially in partnership with the Rotary Club of Cleeve Vale, when solar lights were also distributed to four very poor schools and orphanages. The vital factor in each case has been the link between the charity SolarAid here and through its locally experienced staff in Lusaka, with the Rotary Club of Lusaka, and the Rotary Clubs here which provided the modest funds needed so that all the lights were given not sold.
Needless to say a number of people, other than ourselves, have ensured the success so far. Members of the Rotary Club of Lusaka and devoted SolarAid staff, particularly Karla Kanyanga at their Lusaka offices and, in the case of the clinics, the doctor in overall charge, Dr. Marjie, all of whom have ensured that the lights were fitted and functioning properly. When the first clinic lights were installed Dr. Marjie was so grateful she just burst into tears !
January 2018 Further project bringing Solar light to Zambia.
Our Club, as in 2016 and 2017, is joining with the Rotary Club of Lusaka, this year largely through its satellite Rotaract Club , and the charity SolarAid, operating through its branch.
This year's project is to provide with solar light, at a cost to the Club of circa £3500, a further 150 orphaned children in 3 orphanages and 28 schools which cater to over 10,000 students in Zambia.
It is distributing solar lights to impoverished orphanages and schools in a radius of some 200 miles around Lusaka city. The projects are making a major contribution to the spread of solar lights throughout Zambia where, those outside the main towns, are without electricity and reliant on expensive, dangerous and unhealthy kerosene lamps, or candles, during the daily 12 hours of darkness throughout the year.
A total of 616 SM100 solar lights were distributed in 2016 -7 to very poor orphanages and schools, some of the day school children being allowed to take one home at night. In 2017 a total of 26 health clinics were supplied with much larger appropriate sized lights - babies, for example, could then be delivered with adequate light instead of bad kerosene or candle light.
April 2018 Phase 2 of Project now approved
SCHOOL IN A BAG
We have successfully provided school bags to the Shree Kalika Higher Secondary School in Tekanpur, Nepal. All the children at this school currently have a bag and the Committee have committed themselves to provide bags for their new academic intake.
Tekanpur is 51 miles from Katmandu as the crow flies! Nepal suffered two major earthquakes in 2014. The first on 25th April had a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter Scale and killed 9,000 people and injured 22,000. This was followed on May 12th by a further quake measuring 7.3 magnitude. Whole villages and much major infrastructure including schools and roads were completely destroyed.
School in a Bag is run by the Piers Simon Appeal (PSA), a UK registered charity
based in Somerset that aims to support victims of disasters worldwide. It was formed by the Simon family following the death of Piers Simon who sadly drowned in the Tsunami in Thailand in 2004. School in a Bag has distributed over 72,000 School Bags to children in thirty four countries. Our fundraising is focused on Nepal.
The school bags are bright red rucksacks and each contains ten pencils, ten biro pens, twelve colouring crayons, a pencil case, a 30cm ruler, a maths set, three exercise books (line/square/plain) and a water bottle and food container and spork. Each bag is numbered so that every child can recognize their own bag.
Eating utensils are provided in the bag because often if the children have no method of eating a meal they go without food. As an additional benefit these bags are being manufactured in Nepal, thus providing work and reducing transportation costs.
Since the International Committee was formed in June 2015 the Rotary Club of Cheltenham North has raised for £5,035 for School in a Bag. This sum has been made up of £1,000 from a Curry Lunch plus a further £1,000 from our Club, a £750 District Grant which was made up to £1,800 from our Club funds. £700.87 raised by the parents and pupils of The King’s Junior School, Gloucester at their annual Carol Service. The children of The Richard Pate School raised £534.80 on their Charity Day.
School in the Bag Update March 2018
The email below is one received received from Luke Simon:
It gives me great pleasure to send you pictures from the recent SchoolBag distribution that took place at Shree Kalika School last week on International Women’s Day. In all 80 School Bags were handed out to the children. The photos are lovely and not only show off the children and their School Bags very nicely but also provide good context to how the stock is transported to the school and how they are packed at the premises.
You will notice that construction is still taking place at the school and some of the children are still learning in their TLC (Temporary Learning Centre).
On behalf of the children at Shree Kalika and us here at School in a Bag, thank you so much for your continued support. We are so grateful to the members from the Rotary Club of Cheltenham North.