Two years ago, Rotary Club of Grande Prairie (Alberta, Canada — D 5370) members Joel Park, Lyle Carlstrom, Derek Hall and Rod Hartman travelled to Kenya.
During their trip, the four members found a need.
“The need was a new facility to replace a dilapidated orphanage in the slums of Kireba, in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The original facility housed 70 youth, orphaned for various reasons including 2008 election violence and aids,” a press release noted.
The orphanage was scheduled to be demolished after an investor bought the land. There was land available in the nearby county of Kikuyu.
“The orphanage had connections with the Rotary Club of Kikuyu. There, the club members had experience in building like facilities, operating programmes and education.”
They just needed funding for the new facility. The Grande Prairie Rotarians met with the Rotarians in Kikuyu, listened to their story, and decided they had to do something. That something was the $300,000 (Canadian currency) needed for a new facility.”
After their trip in October 2015, the four returned to Canada in search of project funding.
“The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie decided to provide the funding, in part knowing there were Rotarians involved at the other end,” the release stated.
The four found another $150,000 from Sheri and George Braun, of Langley, BC, (a friend of a friend).
They also partnered with ANSO, a registered Canadian charity.
Another Rotary Club also stepped up to help, including a $5,000 donation from the Canmore Rotary Club. The $5,000 went towards beds.
“Today a brand new dormitory/school, latrines, kitchen and administration building are almost complete. A road was built to access the land, a large fence was built around the property and the water-holding tank and cistern have been installed,” the release noted.
The orphanage’s grand opening is slated for November 25 (Saturday).
Rotary International has six areas of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; water and sanitation; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and economic and community development.
“This project touches a number of these areas and is in line with the values of Rotary,” said Rtn Joel Park in the release.
“I am so proud that we were able to find a need. Come back to my club, present the challenge and ask for help.”
“As one or two or even four people, we can only do so much, but when you are a Rotarian, you combine your efforts with others and can accomplish so much more. And we did. We are providing a home for 70 orphans.”
The orphanage gives them a lift up in chances of success by providing food, shelter, and education.
There is a buy-in from the community for this facility.
“The Kenyan Rotary club we deal with are capable to take it from here. And yes we will continue to monitor and support them and watch them change lives.”
Joel Park will be leaving to be present at the grand opening of the orphanage.