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.
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. Click here for a recent press release about the groundbreaking.
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 at our last in-person fundraiser in March 2020:
After the groundbreaking, construction commenced with the building of the security wall. Here is a drone view of the construction site:
Please visit www.congolibrary.org for ongoing updates.
For more than 30 years, Rotary and our partners have driven the effort to eradicate polio worldwide. Our PolioPlus program was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication by vaccinating children on a massive scale. As a core partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Rotary focuses on advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and awareness-building.
Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.
When Rotary and its partners formed the GPEI in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. Today, we have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, nearly 19 million people who would otherwise have been paralyzed are walking, and more than 1.5 million people are alive who would otherwise have died. The infrastructure we helped build to end polio is also being used to treat and prevent other diseases (including COVID-19) and create lasting impact in other areas of public health.
Rotary has committed to raising $50 million per year for polio eradication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total commitment of $150 million each year. These funds provide much-needed operational support, medical workers, laboratory equipment, and educational materials. Governments, corporations, and private donors all play a crucial role in funding.
Rotary in Action
More than 1 million Rotary members have donated their time and money to eradicate polio, and every year, hundreds of members work with health workers to vaccinate children in countries affected by polio. Rotary members work with UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute informational materials for people in areas that are isolated by conflict, geography, or poverty. They also mobilize to recruit fellow volunteers, assist in transporting the vaccine, and provide other logistical support.
Below is a summary of the history of polio eradication and our very own Cliff Dochterman’s involvement in eradicating polio throughout the years
Ebola Victims in Sierra Leone
Our project in Sierra Leone, “The Peaceful Community Center, Makambo Moraga Campus” is completed. The grand opening of The Peaceful Community Center, Makambo Moraga Campus took place in September/October of 2020. 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 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.