Local Rotary Works on the Other Side of the World

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Latrines in Northern Myanmar.

Contributing Writer

Rotary Club of Jamestown

The bylaws of the Rotary Club of Jamestown suggest that 60% of the club’s funding should be spent for community projects and 40% should be spent on international projects. To that end, the Jamestown Club sponsors two local high school exchange students to study abroad each year and welcomes two foreign students to study in our community. The Club has funded several Shelter Boxes for emergency disaster relief, providing essentials families need to rebuild their lives after disasters. The Rotary Club has also funded the drilling of water wells in Haiti and Ghana and an orphanage in Uganda. For the past ten years, Rotary has also partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in its Polio Plus campaign to eradicate polio throughout the world. The Jamestown Club itself has raised and contributed over $200,000 for polio eradication.

Over the past several years, the Club has become more closely involved with a number of individual international projects. These projects have included a women’s weaving cooperative and micro finance project in Kathmandu, Nepal, as well as supporting a charity school named Cambodia Academy in rural Cambodia with a water filtration system, playground grass, eye exams, and classroom white boards. Most recently, the Club completed a clean water sanitation project in a tiny rural school in Northern Myanmar. These projects have been undertaken in direct 50/50 cooperation with local Rotary clubs in each of these countries and have had the added dimension of being monitored by Club member David Troxell and his wife Marissa with their on–site participation. 

Students at the completion of the filitration system and latrines.

The Club is currently in the final stages of negotiating a partnership agreement with the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The project will involve the construction of a cafeteria building for primary school students in order to facilitate a free lunch program. These very underprivileged children are frequently malnourished and a local charity organization has volunteered to help feed them at the school if a safe and clean building can be built to house them. The project is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2019. 

The Rotary Club of Jamestown is the oldest and largest service organization in town. Founded and chartered by Rotary International in 1919, the Club will celebrate its 100th anniversary in May 2019. During its century of service, the 100+ member club has helped to develop and fund many Jamestown city projects as diverse as establishing the Boy’s Club here in town and twice annual highway cleanups. The Club founded Moon Brook Country Club, the Community Chest (now the United Way), and has contributed significant funds for the WCA Hospital Emergency Department, the Reg Lenna Civic Center, JCC scholarships, the Handicap Camp week at Onyahsa and the National Comedy Center as well as underwriting several literacy programs in the community.

Filtration system in Northern Myanmar.

Fund raisers to support these projects include an annual golf tournament at Moon Brook Country Club, the annual Fire and Ice Ball and an autumn Italian dining experience called Taste of Italy, among several others. If you are interested in becoming involved with the club which meets each Monday at noon at the Jackson Center, contact membership chairman Tory Irgang.

One of the guiding philosophies of Rotary is “Service above Self.” In a recent presentation to the Club while reviewing international projects, David Troxell put it this way: “In the rapidly evolving world community, where bad things are improving, the Rotary Club of Jamestown is very proud to be doing its part to make things better.”