Children with special learning needs in a small agricultural community in Argentina are receiving help, thanks to Rotary clubs in central and western Nebraska (US, District 5630) and around the globe.
Kearney Dawn Rotarians Don Peterson and Steve Brodine were in Las Parejas when the city of 13,200 five hours northwest of Buenos Aires celebrated the $31,000 gift of equipment from Rotary International.
“It was a very, very festive event, the school teachers, the mayor of the city and politicians were there, and so was the district governor of Rotary,” Peterson said about the event in which the multisensory learning equipment was dedicated.
Rotary donated the equipment to a school that helps students with major learning challenges.
The project got its start two years ago when Peterson and more than 500 other Rotary Club district governors gathered in San Diego.
By chance, Peterson met Pedro Zanini of Las Parejas.
With help from Zanini’s English-speaking wife, Elba, Pedro and Peterson decided to pursue the multisensory learning project.
It was a huge job with lots of paperwork, Peterson said, because Rotary International won’t back a project unless it’s well-planned, sustainable and its progress can be measured.
Rotary clubs across Peterson’s western Nebraska district provided money, as did Rotary International and Rotarians in Las Parejas.
The club in Argentina also completed all the paperwork.
“They totally had skin in the game,” Peterson said. “The local Rotary club worked through the school to answer all of the educational requirements to qualify for the Rotary International grant, and now there are five years worth of tracking they will do.”
Joining Peterson and Brodine on the trip to South America was Hastings Sunrise Rotarian Dale Schultz.
Brodine said that Las Parejas is in farm country that’s very similar to south-central Nebraska.
Although the scenery is similar to Nebraska’s, Brodine said the schools are different.
They don’t have the resources, as in Nebraska, to address the educational challenges of special needs children.
He said the Las Parejas Rotary Club was host for the North Americans for a lunch and various social events.
Brodine and Peterson said the Rotary project was a major boost for the community.
Before returning to the United States, the Nebraska Rotarians scouted out another humanitarian project to help another small farm community with its drinking water problems.
Source: Kearney Hub