Rotary – a personal perspective – 3

A few years ago, Sandra Maizels persuaded the Club to undertake a School Library Project in South Africa. After 2 extremely busy years of sustained effort the library was built and completed in 2015, named by the School as the Good Hope Library, as education is a passport for the children of the township near Soweto to move onto better things. At the opening of the library Wendover Rotary was represented by a local School Aid colleague of Sandra’s.

Currently local Rotary Clubs are working together to fund the building of a Sand Dam in Kenya, providing fresh water for local inhabitants and wildlife. It involves building a 2 metre high concrete wall across a dried up river bed. Typically the river only runs for a couple of weeks during and shortly after the rainy seasons. Rushing floodwater hits the wall and flows over it, depositing sand against it. In one season it is possible to deposit enough sand against the wall up to the height of the wall and also to back fill the river for 100s of metres. The deposited sand retains water in the river bed, hence the name Sand Dam. The absolute simplicity of this technology is stunning.

Children can go to school instead of collecting water while adults can concentrate on farming and commercial enterprises.

Rotary is also about giving help to our neighbours. In late March, Rotary in Wendover raised enough money to give a bag of kit to the Spinal Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital containing specialist equipment for badminton and kurking (curling on wheels instead of ice) as well as several sets of Active Hands (useful for people with no grip). It was delivered on Monday 24 April as part of a national Rotary initiative.

However, Rotary is not only about raising money for charity. We enjoy the work we do and meet regularly to have simple meals just enjoying the social occasion. These meals are held at local restaurants and pubs including the King and Queen in Wendover and the Holiday Inn in Weston Turville. Rotary was originally set up by technical and professional people to do charitable activities and to create a network of contacts. Rotary has clubs in most countries and it is the biggest global charitable organisation. A Rotarian can go and visit another club anywhere in the UK or overseas. Links work at business, charitable and personal levels.

Rotary has now established a corporate membership category, so it is possible for companies to nominate up to 4 of their staff to join Rotary in Wendover. This can help towards Corporate Social Responsibility in the Annual Report, probably only really important if you are a listed PLC company. However, there is another benefit. In my previous existence, our company established overseas joint ventures and branches. The REALLY BIG problem was finding reliable local contacts. Rotary has these contacts. If I knew then what I know now, both the International Director and I would have joined Rotary, as I am sure it would have made our working life easier. With BREXIT imminent our government is telling us to go and export around the world. Trading into new markets is incredibly difficult but can be made much easier by having good, reliable local contacts.

This is my final article on Rotary. I hope you have found them interesting and thought provoking. There is so much more to say. To find out more, look at Why not join us?

Kevin Towler

To read part 1 of this series, click here

To read part 2 of this series, click here