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Since 2010, the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne has adopted a long-term international project to support Gléi Middle School in Togo, Africa. The Togolese Republic is located in West Africa along the Gulf of Guinea and is bordered by Ghana on the west and Benin on the east.  Led and coordinated by the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne, various clubs in the U.S. (including Fort Wayne) have funded playground equipment and books.  The International Centennial Service Project will culminate with the building of a middle school, using funds from the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne, the “Chicago 1” Rotary Club and the recently chartered Rotary Club of Lomé-Lumiere, Togo. “The Rotary Club of Fort Wayne and its partners have truly lit a spark for the Gléi Village,” said Fort Wayne Rotary’s International Services Committee Chair Jason Daenens. “I believe that spark has created a lasting flame among the villagers and its leaders, which will effectively move them forward to create a more stable and sustainable educational environment.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Building Gléi Middle School
Timeline of Rotary Club of Fort Wayne Centennial International Service Project  
 
 
2010:
 
October: Jason Daenens, chair of International Service Committee of Rotary Club of Fort Wayne, attends the 6th Annual West Africa Rotary Fair in Accra, Ghana. During the conference he learns the Village of Gléi, Togo, needs a middle school, books and supplies.
 
2011:
  • Based on the recommendation and detailed research conducted by Daenens, the US Peace Corps and the International Service Committee, Rotary Club of Fort Wayne adopts the long-term international project to support Gléi Middle School in Togo, West Africa. The Togolese Republic is located in West Africa along the Gulf of Guinea and is bordered by Ghana on the west and Benin on the east. 
  • The Rotary Club of Fort Wayne International Service Committee, led by Daenens, develops an education/literacy in partnership with the Rotary Club of Lomé-Lumier, Rotary Club of Atakpamé, US Peace Corps Togo, and Rotary Club 1 Chicago to support Gléi middle school.
  • Rotary Club of Fort Wayne is awarded a grant from Rotary District 6540 (Northern Indiana) to fund playground equipment and school supplies for the Gléi kindergarten. 
 
2012:
  • Coordinated by the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne, text books are purchased for the Gléi Middle School, with funding from: Rotary Club of Fort Wayne: $2,000; Chicago Club 1: $2,500; and Rotary District 6540 grant: $2,500.
 
2013:
  • Rotary District 6540 awards a second grant ($1,400) to purchase schoolbooks for the Gléi project ($1,400); effort coordinated by Rotary Club of Fort Wayne.  
  • February 27: Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne unanimously votes that building the Gléi Middle School will be the Club’s International Service Project as part of its Centennial observance in 2015. Daenens coordinates a joint funding sponsorship with Rotary Club No. 1 of Chicago and Togo Rotary Clubs totaling over $40,000.
  • Spring: “Building a classroom at a time” project is launched with the construction of the first two classrooms for Gléi Middle School. The Rotary Club of Fort Wayne provides $2,500, matched by $2,500 from Chicago Club 1. This funding essentially grows into a $10,000 gift through Gléi area contractors’ in-kind gifts and additional funding from Rotary Club of Lomé-Lumiere, Togo.  Daenens and the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne International Service Committee coordinate the project, including managing fund transfers through a US Peace Corps worker in Togo.  Daenens reports Gléi villagers helped to prepare the land and built footers. for the new school “I believe that spark (to build the new school) has created a lasting flame among the villagers and its leaders, which will effectively move them forward to create a more stable and sustainable educational environment.” 
  • Summer:  Funding for the next two classrooms arrives from Rotary Club of Fort Wayne and the Chicago Club 1; construction is underway. 
  • October: Jason attends the 9th Annual West Africa Rotary Fair and convinces conference leaders to include a tour of Gléi Middle School during his visit. On October 22, there are nearly 1,000 students and villagers to greet Jason and the 40 other Rotarians from North America who have come to the Fair. A crowd of nearly 1,000 including stilt walkers, singers and dancers welcome the group. At the ceremony, Jason presents a proclamation from Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, declaring October 22 as “Children of Glei Day” in Fort Wayne. The festivities of the day prompt other acts of generosity: Rotarians from North America learn the new four-room school does not have doors, which are not include in the funding cost. An “ask for funds” among the visiting North Americans yields $1,800 for doors.  Meanwhile, the president of the Rotary Club of Lomé-Lumiere, Togo, makes her first visit ever to Gléi as part of this entourage and is overwhelmed by the new school, the poverty and deep need.  After the visit, she pledges that the Rotary Club of Lomé-Lumiere will pay for the construction of two additional classrooms.   The ceremony is held under a special awning built for the day.  Children present a skit in English, with the plot of not wanting to go to school before; however, the new school and supplies makes them want to attend now.  Gléi Middle School attendance was around 600 before the new school was built; today, attendance is around 880 students. Former Peace Corps worker Jane O’Sullivan, who was in Glei during Jason’s first trip and is a member of the New York Metropolitan Rotary Club, joins Rotarians on this trip.  Fluent in French, she serves as Jason’s translator during the ceremonies.  
 
2014 – 2015: The remaining four Gléi Middle School classrooms will be built, completing the eight-room school. 

 

For more information on our international project, please contact Jason Daenens: jason@commercialfilter.net or 260-490-7979