Thousands of people in Uganda will benefit from the efforts of four Rotary groups in Somerset.
A cross-county fundraising project has seen the clubs team up to ‘adopt’ a Ugandan village.
The Rotary Clubs of Mendips, Weston, Bridgwater and the District 1200 E-Club helped to raise more than $70,000 to provide safe drinking water, restore a school and provide life-saving medical care to families in a rural village.
The project will last three years, after which it is expected the activities will be self-sustaining and will have improved the quality of life in Nwademuttwe, which is 30km from Kampala.
Mike Gelder, who led the Rotary Club of Mendips’ fundraising efforts, told the Mercury one of its members knew a Rotarian in Uganda who was a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala Sunrise.
He said: “They were looking to fund a partnership grant from the Rotary Foundation, the main rotary charity, to develop a neighbourhood village where there was previously little in the way of facilities.”
The Ugandan club needed to raise $72,000 to create provisions for Nwademuttwe.
The Mendip club committed to trying to raise $30,000, alongside the three other groups, towards the project which would see money spent on three main areas.
HOW WAS THE MONEY RAISED?
The quartet of clubs were successful in their fundraising efforts, with the Mendip Rotary Club holding another prosperous lawnmower racing event in Cross to earn a large portion of their funds.
The Cochin City Kerala Club, in India, also assisted with the efforts by raising $5,000 of the $30,000 total.
The Rotary Foundation then presented $42,000 to the cause, helping the Kampala Sunrise Rotary Club to reach its $72,000 target.
Mike said: “The next step was to agree how and when the project would proceed.
“The initial plan was for Kampala Sunrise club to manage the day to day business. The idea was for us to do the fundraising and for Sunrise to run the project.
“The club have been keeping in touch with us so we can see how the money is being used across the three major links.”
WHAT WILL IT BE USED FOR?
Some of the money has already gone towards making improvements in the rural village.
The first and most important aim will be to bring water to the community of Nwademuttwe.
Mike said: “People have to walk 3km to get any water so they are currently in the process of digging a well.
“We are also doing some work in the school to educate them on water harvesting.”
The money will also be used to improve sanitation in the community and teaching people how to correctly use it and to keep it clean.
The money will also be divided up to invest in creating and sustaining healthcare in the village.
The villagers used to have to trek 30km to Kampala to get any treatment.
Some of the money has already been put towards hosting medical camps in Nwademuttwe – which saw 372 people attend the first event.
The first medical clinic was staffed by 35 people including four general doctors, a nurse, two dental officers and two midwives for cervical cancer screenings.
The final project was to renovate the classroom block of a dilapidated school in the village.
The money has already seen a new roof be installed and will now create a library/computer room for students.
WHAT ELSE IS BEING DONE?
The hard work does not stop there for the Rotarians. There is still more to be accomplished.
They have created micro-loans to help create small startup businesses in the region.
People can apply for small cash loans of up to $100 to set up their basic business and then commit to repaying it once it is on its feet.
Mike said the Mendips club was ‘delighted’ to see the projects coming together.
He told the Mercury: “There is a real sense of achievement with what we have done and we are relieved to see things are going ahead and managing to get underway.
“We are hoping to head over soon (to Uganda) to see the fruits of our labour in action and meet the Kampala Sunrise club members.”
Source: The Weston Mercury