Wheelchair assistance
 
Paarl Rotary provides wheelchairs to needy recipients with the help of Rotary's Wheelchair Foundation. We are assisted by local entrepreneur Tommy Goliath (left), who sources recipients and does wheelchair repairs. Below is a short summary of some of the other projects: 
 
Brighter sight
 
 
​For the past few years Paarl Rotary has annually facilitated the provision of spectacles to needy children. Although there are many children who need glasses due to poor sight, the state waiting list is long. Paarl Rotary now provides spectacles to about 100 children per year. Each year we target a different school, which is visited by a qualified optician who tests the eyes of those children who were recommended for assistance after preliminary testing by the Department of Health. Paarl Rotary sponsors the tests and the spectacles.
 
The Royalty Project focuses on female health
 
 

The Royalty project in Paarl focuses on preventing teenage pregnancy and teaches teenagers about  their rights over their own bodies.

In 2015, Paarl Rotary was approached by a German gynaecologist, Dr Burga Schwoerer, who had been unable to obtain a work visa while living in South Africa. She had been part of a German NGO (AGGF) which employs about 80 female doctors, covering almost the whole of Germany, to help with sex education at schools. She had started a similar project in the Paarl area, and needed help in financing the project.

As a result, Paarl Rotary successfully applied for a Rotary global grant for the project,  initially called Girls’  Talk, in association with two German clubs, Bayreuth and Ernst Abbe (in Jena) in 2016. Dr Schwoerer visited more than 40 local schools on a regular basis, addressing girls in higher primary classes and in junior classes at high schools on female health, with the aim of reducing teenage pregnancy and the effects of sexual activity amongst teenagers, such as HIV. Her course covered female anatomy, pregnancy, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. She also provided Subzpads (reusable female hygiene products) to needy girls. She used an enlarged mock-up of the uterus and ovaries, made of textile, much to the fascination of the girls. Using a doll to illustrate birthing and child-rearing was also part of her programme.

When Dr Schwoerer returned to Germany in 2017, a local general practitioner, Dr Nelmarie Pitout was appointed to replace her. Her talks were in high demand at local schools. So popular were the talks that eventually an assistant, Sister Esmarelda Patton, was appointed to give similar talks to the boys at the same schools, by popular demand. They taught more than 7300 learners during 2017 and reached a similar number during 2018. 

Says Dr Pitout: “We have a passion to change young peoples’ lives through candid and uncomplicated presentations. We believe that thorough understanding of this topic can help them make wise decisions that not only impact their own lives greatly, but will also change the future of their children and ultimately this community for many generations to come.”

“We love working with the teenagers. During our time with them we have become aware of shocking myths and misperceptions which we can address and dispel. That is why we plan to continue to educate them, thereby empowering them to choose a bright future for themselves and their children.”

After the three-year global grant had run its course in 2018, Dr Pitout decided to continue with the project as it was proving to be sustainable. There had been a marked decline in pregnancy rates in the classes she had visited (in fact there had been no pregnancies in these classes since). The project has been renamed the Royalty Project and is still operating at local schools, with Rotary support.


Path onto Prosperity

 
In 2014 The Rotary Club of Paarl was approached by the Rotary Club of Wantage, UK, partnered with the Rotary Clubs of Walsrode in Germany, and Zaltbommel in Holland, to participate in a Rotary International Global Grant to establish a Path onto Prosperity (POP) centre near Paarl. After a long and arduous process, including a re-submission of our application, we finally got the good news in September 2016 that our application had succeeded and that a Global Grant of around R680 000 ($48 000) had been approved. The POP programme is run under the auspices of the Goedgedacht Trust.

The Trust, headquartered at Kasteelberg near Malmesbury, is a Western Cape community development trust, developed 23 years ago. Its focus is on helping rural children and youth in West Coast and Boland towns to break free from the cycle of generational poverty. Its innovative POP programme takes a multi-faceted approach and is based on the premise that appropriate early intervention in education, health care, personal development and environmental awareness can transform rural communities and provide the next generation of children the opportunity to become healthy, self-confident, educated young people able to take up leadership roles in their own communities.

The Paarl POP centre is located on Just Trees farm in Nuwedrif, where owner Carl Pretorius donated land and structures. The centre has limited resources, and Paarl Rotary is in the process of utilising the Global Grant to elevate the centre to a level where it can be much more effective in benefiting farmworkers' children from surrounding farms. This includes the construction of a water-borne sewage system for the centre in 2017, and refurbishing the kitchen in 2018, as well as purchasing a shipping container for storage.
 
 
Amado
 
 
AMADO is a project-specific organisation which provides animal-assisted therapy to disabled children who cannot afford it. Amado is not an average horse riding centre, it is much more. The children who they help all receive individual attention using real therapeutic methods tailored to each child’s individual needs. Positive reinforcements are of vital importance to everybody at AMADO. The children feel important and obtain a sense of self-worth. When you struggle to bath yourself, but you can stop a 400kg horse, that’s self confidence that is priceless! Carers are appointed to look after the remaining children in an educationally stimulating environment while lessons are given with one child at a time to boost self-esteem and to make them feel very special.

The aim is to see 40 children a week for half hour sessions, giving each child two hours of riding per month. All work is done in in conjunction with occupational therapists, psychologists and physiotherapists. After every session a report is compiled for future reference. AMADO aims to identify children with a real passion for riding and horses and then to take these children further by finding work for them in the equine industry. The Rotary Club of Paarl proudly sponsors eight (8) children to attend these valuable lessons (www.amado.co.za).
 
Seniors’ Concert
 
 
Every year the Paarl Rotary Club presents the Seniors' Concert free of charge to nearly 400 senior citizens.  Kaufie Kaufman explains how it originated: "During 1983/84 I attended a talent show at the Police College held in aid of the Southern Cross Fund and was very impressed at the young talent in our town. I contacted the organizer, Mr Bram Potgieter to enquire if they would assist Rotary to put on a show more specifically for seniors from the more disadvantaged areas, as many of these people do not get the opportunity to attend an event of this nature.
 
"Mr Potgieter and his fellow band members agreed and the first show was held at the Town Hall a year or so later.  For the first few years our Rotary ladies provided refreshments and from approximately 1989 Shoprite have sponsored the party-packs which is handed out to all attendees. We normally have about 300 seniors from all parts of Paarl as well as a group from Wellington attending this event and for many of them it is their only evening out for the year.  Many of these people have no transport and our Rotary members fetch and deliver them safely to their homes.  In addition we hire a bus to bring seniors from Paarl East. Invitations are delivered to various social workers, old aged homes, retirement villages etc.  Any senior is welcome to attend as long as we have numbers for catering purposes.

" Lately, local artists have presented this show in the same spirit, without reward, as a service to the community, with many dancing in the aisles during the live performances.  Special thanks must go to Drakenstein Municipality who gives us a reduced rate for the hire of the Town Hall, also the firm of Basson and Basson who generously provide crockery for the event. Without their inputs and that of Shoprite for refreshments it would make it difficult to continue staging this free concert.  The enjoyment on the faces of the concert-goers makes this such a worthwhile project and hopefully can be continued for as long as possible."
 
NorSA
 
 
NorSA focuses on the development of community projects with specific focus on HIV/AIDS. Their aim is to change the destiny of families and children affected and infected with HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS has a huge impact on children living in poor socio-economic circumstances and experiencing a lack of stimulation due to the impact of this disease on their parents. Locally, NorSA has a preschool and afterschool centre which makes an impact on young lives. A nurse sees to health needs. The Rotary Club of Paarl has over time assisted NorSA with various requirements, ranging from facilities and infrastructure to funding for feeding programs.  The dedicated work done by the caregivers and management at NorSA has inspired our club to continue with our close relationship with this organisation (www.norsacommunitycare.org).
 
Island of Hope
 
Paarl Rotary Club erected the Island of Hope centre in co-operation with the Salvation Army, on their premises in Paarl, in 2006. The centre is utilised as a thrift shop where clothing is sold and building materials are recycled and appliances and furniture are repaired and sold by unemployed artisans. It also houses a Montessori daycare centre for preschool children, managed by the Children’s Campaign Trust. 
 
EduBox
 
 
The EduBox is an educational kit of teaching aids which develops numeracy and fine motor skills in pre-school and foundation classes. These kits are available from Paarl Rotary, and are distributed country-wide to needy schools. The box includes ten items:
  1. An Abacus – for counting and mathematical calculations;
  2. Fraction plates – which serve as a visual aid to help with the learning of fractions and adding and multiplying of fractions;
  3. Counting Tray – assists in addition and subtraction up to the value of ten;
  4. Interlocking Counting Cubes – assist with recognition, matching and naming of primary colours, learning spatial and positional relations, stimulating visual perceptual skills and developing of numeracy skills;
  5. Fun-Times Clock – visual aid to assist in learning analogue time;
  6. Stitch-a-bead – bead threading assists in identifying different shapes and developing three dimensional form perception, integrating fine motor skills with visual- and auditory perceptual development;
  7. French knitter – a creative tool to develop fine motor planning, midline-crossing and eye-hand coordination;
  8. Embroidery Canvas – helps to develop fine motor planning skills, introducing the concept of working from left to right, pattern completion and following instructions;
  9. White Board Marker – an interactive tool used for all learning aspects in the classroom;
  10. Noughts & Crosses – blocks assist with the development of finding solutions for a problem and also playfully facilitates the concept of strategy planning.
 
The Rotary Club of Paarl makes the EduBox available to any individual or organisation who has an interest in early childhood development and we have distributed sets to numerous schools in urban and rural areas that are using them with very positive results. Cost is kept to a minimum at R250 to make the EduBox affordable and basic training in using the various items is provided through short video clips in Afrikaans and English posted on You Tube at http://tinyurl.com/lb98jwr. For more information contact Deon Erasmus on 082 552 3319; deon.oculi@gmail.com.
Sponsors