Posted on Aug 18, 2021
Five members of the Westchester Rotary Club headed to the Dominican Republic in August carrying with them 14 suitcases packed with essential school supplies for children in the Dominican Republic.
Headed by Club International Projects Chair, Elmsford Deputy Fire Chief Nelson Diaz, the other team members are Club President Syed Alirahi, Secretary Shazia Alirahi, Treasurer Firoz Pathan, and Community Service Chair Maher Pathan.  The team traveled to Jamao Afuera - a poverty-stricken remote mountainous area about 100 miles from Santo Domingo.  They distributed the supplies to children in 5 schools in the area.  The Club members paid for the cost of their travel and their week-long stay there by themselves.
Based on feedback from the area, the team purchased backpacks, notebooks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, pens, erasers, crayons, triangle ruler sets, for distribution to the children before the school year began in September.  All of the individual items have the Club and Rotary logos attached identifying them as being provided by the Club.  The waterproof backpacks have large stickers on the back so that the Rotary logo and Club name are visible when the children are carrying them on their backs.
The team also held meetings with local school and town officials, as well as Rotary Clubs in Santo Domingo.  Project Chair Nelson Diaz is from the area and President Alirahi, who speaks fluent Spanish, spoke about Rotary, its ideals, and Rotary's goal of providing assistance in education and literacy.  The total cost of the items was $6,200 and were purchased from funds donated by Club members and from funds raised through a raffle.   The Club has received for a District Grant to cover part of the project costs.