That’s the rallying cry of Rotary this year and it sits well with our own approach. We look to give opportunities to young people, so they can make the most of their lives – for many escaping poverty.
Rotary has been a big part in our progress. I first met Alan Rice-Smith at a networking event in 2016 and was invited to speak at Brookmans Park Rotary Group. The Club were exceptionally welcoming and offered to sponsor two children for the full four years through our scholarship programme. They later donated further funds to help three other students complete their final year at secondary school.
I was delighted when John Quickenden agreed to sponsor two further students during his year of Presidency, and Diane Thompson has continued her support this year.
And that’s only the start of it. The Interact Club at St Albans Girls School took an interest in the conditions at school in Kenya. They raised funds to allow a boy to complete his final two years at secondary school in Kisumu near Lake Victoria. Many children are orphans or come from families who simply can’t afford the school fees. Some start school but are then sent home when the money runs out. We’re talking about £300 – £400 for a year, full board, but this is beyond many who barely earn enough to survive.
From talks at other Rotary groups, several individual members have also become sponsors, and both Welwyn Garden City Rotary and Hatfield Rotary have donated, allowing us to help 173 children attend secondary school overall, providing a total of 528 years of schooling so far.
And there’s more. In Kenya, Rotary offers a fantastic opportunity to our contacts and students to develop their personal skills and build connections. These young leaders have great energy and will be an asset to any community group and they in turn will learn from the experience of Rotary members.
And we have benefited from other Rotary funded projects – like providing sanitary packs for girls on our scholarship programme. This is a tremendous help to young girls who otherwise have a disrupted school life each month. Its another way that Rotary are providing practical help to help the kids we support get a full education.
On our own, there’s a limit to what we can do. But through partnerships like this, we can reach more and more children. Thank you Rotary.