International Service is a dynamic opportunity for members to become involved with world community service, projects that are our club's focus, plus those of Rotary International, all of which are aimed at promoting international understanding, goodwill and peace. On average, about 20% of our donations are going outside the U.S. And every year, we send a delegation to the Rotary International Conventions held in such places as New Orleans, Toronto, Los Angeles, Bangkok, San Paulo, and Osaka. Some of the past international projects we have supported are:
- Funded about 50 micro-businesses through Kiva International
- Supported the PolioPlus World Polio Eradication Initiative
- Funded a Fire Engine for the town of Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico
- Supported the Kenya Smiles Project for children in Kenya
- Built a children's playground in Ladrillera, Mexico
- Donated 2 containers full of wheelchairs to China and Mexico
Many of these service projects provide the hope of a new lease on life, for people we will never meet, by overcoming disfigurement from birth defects or war and social strife, or simply the avoidance of the life crippling disease of Polio. Our thanks is the smile on a child's face, the thank you from a parent, and the handshake or hug from someone in need who cannot believe total strangers will help them.
The following are some of the past projects that Moraga Rotary has participated in. The list is far from complete, and will continue to grow, so please, visit often.
Ebola Victims in Sierra Leone
Our project in Sierra Leone, “The Peaceful Community Center, Makambo Moraga Campus” is almost completed. Watch a video of this campus below:
Moraga Rotary donated funds to enable P.E.A.C.E., a NGO, to acquire a compound to house and educate orphans in Sierra Leone. The compound is located in the village of Makambo, home to approximately 1,000 residents. This village is about 10 minutes from the main city of Makeni but the disparity in people's lives is stark.
P.E.A.C.E. has an established track record in Makeni for providing quality life-changing projects to the community. P.E.A.C.E.'s programs will now provide Makambo with the training and social welfare support to help the orphans and other children who are incapable of going through the normal education process because of displacement or literacy issues.
The grand opening of The Peaceful Community Center, Makambo Moraga Campus is targeted for the end of the summer of 2020.
Congo Library and Learning Center
Our newest international project is to help build the Lumumba Children’s Library and Learning Center (the LCL) in Goma, Congo. This will be the first public library ever in eastern Congo. Co-founders of the LCL are Fidel Bafilemba and Paul Freedman.
Fidel Bafilemba is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Goma Tumaini. Paul Freedman is a documentarian and Paul Harris Fellow. Paul Freedman has been in Goma many times and provides our Club with ongoing updates.
$53,000 has been raised so far by the LCL Team with another $20,000 raised at Moraga Rotary’s annual fundraiser, Nite at the Races, in March 2020. Click here for update at this fundraiser.
Part of the money raised to date has already paid for architectural plans, and renderings. Excavation of land and construction of the security wall around the property was scheduled for March 2020. Due to Covid-19 Pandemic, this next task is on hold.
The LCL Team is currently encouraging everyone in a book club to join their Book Club Challenge. View the Book Club Challenge video below:
The LCL Team has created a website at www.congolibrary.org where you can find extensive information, pictures, and plans of this life-changing literacy project for underserved children in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The video below was presented during our annual Nite at the Races fundraiser in March 2020:
PolioPlus World Polio Eradication Initiative:
In 1981, Rotary International made a pledge to immunize all the children in the world against polio. At that time there were about 500,000 cases of polio every year in 125 different countries. This has been described as the world's greatest humanitarian effort by a non-governmental organization. Working with Rotary International on the Polio Eradication Initiative is the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
To date over two billion children have received polio vaccine from Rotarian volunteers, who have eradicated polio in 121 nations of the world through National Immunization Days. Over 99% of all children in the world have received polio vaccine through Rotary's PolioPlus program. As of the first quarter in 2017, a total of just 16 new cases were reported in small parts of just Pakistan and Afghanistan. Europe has been polio-free since 2002. Rotary is not giving up, especially when we are so close to eradicating this scourge. We predict that by 2019, polio will be the second disease declared eradicated from the world, following smallpox.
Since 1981, Rotarians have contributed over $1.2 billion to this project. Recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Rotary two matching grants totaling $355 million, and have just committed another $35 million grant per year through 2018. Moraga Rotary has joined with the other 33,000 Rotary Clubs of the world in this effort with a pledge to raise and contribute annually toward this goal.
For more information, visit the Rotary International website by clicking on the link below.
The Wheelchair Foundation has provided Moraga Rotary with a great opportunity to give to those who are the silent ones. The people who have disabilities that inhibit their ability to be mobile. We are talking about the handicapped who require wheelchairs in order to move around, to have a job and to become a part of their society.
On two occasions, Moraga Rotary funded a portion of an entire container of new, specially designed wheelchairs for use in rough terrain, and our members traveled to Mexicali, Mexico and Hangzhou, China to deliver the chairs to needy men, women and children.
Many of those who received wheelchairs had little or nothing to assist them in moving around. Broken crutches, skateboards, walkers held together by duct tape. By providing a new wheelchair designed for the rugged environment they live in, Moraga Rotary offered over 400 people an opportunity to be a bigger participant in their village, and the world they live in.
It was 1992 when a Yuma Rotarian first laid eyes on the small village of Ladrillera, the brickyard. A poor shanty town of shacks, built from castoff wood and cardboard, with old torn sheets covering the window openings, most of which have never had a window in them. Windows in Ladrillera are a luxury. Yuma Rotary found a place and a school very much in need of the attention and support of Rotary.
The first focus was the children, and the goal was to improve the small run down school they go to each day to learn. Over the course the next ten years, Rotary Clubs worked to improve the school at Ladrillera. Rotary built bathrooms with running water, replacing the old outhouses, and they built a new classroom, bringing the total to three and thereby qualifying the school for Mexican Federal monies.
It was Moraga Rotary's opportunity to help. Moraga Rotary, in conjunction with the seven Rotary Clubs of the Yuma area, worked together to build a modern playground, and to provide school supplies and teaching aides to a school that could not afford a pencil for each child. A school where teachers need to check paper out to students on a single sheet basis, out of necessity.
Moraga Rotary gave the children of Ladrillera an opportunity to play. To have a place where they can, for a moment, forget the terrible poverty in which they live. Lives lived on dirt roads, no sidewalks, sheets on the windows, outhouses, no running water, in many cases no electricity, and for most, no hope.
But, for a moment they have the chance to be kids. They have a playground almost as good as the kids their age in this country, and better than most of the kids in theirs. One small village, one small gift, one weekend's labor, and small lives made happier. That is the focus of Moraga Rotary.