Gary introduced Marie who hails from Northern Alberta but has been living in Peterborough where she taught French and English as a second language while taking a Masters in Global Change.  She's been a member of Rotary for over a year and has already been named Rotarian of the Year there.  She is keen on pursuing sustainable solutions to the problems endemic in Honduras and has been there several times both on missions and as part of Rotary initiatives like wheelchair distributions and donations of school supplies.  There is a relationship with a club there which is dedicated to helping.
Marie said Honduras is the second poorest country in the world, after Haiti, the government is corrupt and they are still suffering from the effects of a huge tornado that hit in 1998.  There are a lot of gangs and associated violence though she says that if you take the standard precautions there is little risk.  Working with the local club helps.
The wheelchair distribution she worked on handed out 275 chairs of all sizes.  She has also helped distribute water filters and worked with the AFE school which stands for love, hope and faith and is built at the local dump where families scrounge for recylclables under the control of gangs who limit their earnings.  One person made $5.00 scavenging cardboard to feed a family of 8 for a week.  She also has connections to the Reyes Irene Vocational School for girls from 12 up who work as domestics or street vendors.  The school provides accelerated courses to give a GED as well as moral support, medical care, sex education and lessons on their rights as citizens. and has won a UN award nomination but it is closed, now, due to lack of funding.  $13,000.00 has been raised to open half of the classrooms and it is hoped to raise more through the global grant application.
School in Honduras is free but students are required to wear a uniform and shoes and provide books and transport which is often beyond the reach of families.  Again funding is being sought to offer scholarships which the students would repay through tutoring and kits of supplies for students and for assisting teachers.
There is an application in to fund a trip next year - $82,000.00 - with more being raised elsewhere and the hope is to develop a
female empowerment course along with business projects, vocational training and teachers' training, the graduates of which would teach others.  They are also developing textbooks that are specific to the locale and would be rented so they are returned and reused and then the funding used to update and replace them.
Gary said Marie is planning a trip to Honduras in Feb. next year and is excited to think our Club might join her to pursue a water filter project that also would include building a filter factory so they could accelerate deliveries and provide jobs.  Gary got about 10 hands expressing interest in participating.  He projects about 50 people going from 5 Clubs and Midland would arrive first to work on the filter projects and then help out on others as other groups arrived.  There is the possibility that some members might stay longer.  If you're interested in going, talk to Gary.  A decision will be made early in August.