Evening meeting with the Camrose Daybreak Club.  Presentation on the Days for Girls project.
Lisa, President Elect of the Daybreak Club called the meeting to order at 6:00
Gala events are coming up – make sure you plan to attend.  It would be great to have good attendance from both clubs to both events this year.
The Camrose Rotary Club Gala will be held Saturday May 6, 2017.
The Daybreak Club Rib Tickler is Thursday June 8th at the Casino.  This year for entertainment, they are doing something a bit different.  They will have an a cappelo group who are also comedians.  The Heebee-jeebees!.
They will have tickets for sale by next week.
Don Rebus – Wheel Chair Program.  
  • The Camrose Rotary Club is now ready to ship their wheelchairs .  They could use help on Thursday.  They need to load 250 wheel chairs and two dozen walkers.  Thursday 3:30 at the Brick – delivery entrance.
Lou Henderson
  • Rotary leadership institute Day is a go – January 28th from 9:00 to 4:00 on the Saturday.  It will be at Business IQ.  If people haven’t registered, talk to Lou, Morris or Lisa.  There is no cost to the participants; the two clubs have agreed to cover the cost.
John was the greeter.
  • There were lots of happy bucks, but no fines.
50/50 Draw
  • Jeff won the 50/50 of $26.00  Jeff donated his winnings to Days for Girls.
Ashley White – outgoing exchange student
There was a handout on the table describing Ashley’s adventures.
Check out her Blog at: storiesvonaustria.blogspot.ca
Check out her Facebook Page at:  https://www.facebook.com/ashley.white.3942?fref=ts
Mikkel's Report – inbound exchange student
  • House warming at Sheila’s on December 23
  • School ended on December 23.  His phone vibrated and his parents sent him a Christmas Party.
  • December 24th Dawn asked him to Vacuum – not what he expected to do on Christmas Eve.
  • On the 25th they had to wait for Gavin to come home – then opened presents and had Turkey Dinner.
  • Dec 26 he went to Sheila’s house which was packed with family and friends.  He watched the World Juniors on TV. Met all of Sheila’s family.  They played 7’s – he lost.
  • On the 27th they went to Dawn’s sister’s at Red Deer for another nice dinner.
  • On the 28th they went to the new Rogers Place to watch the Oil Kings.
  • On the 31st he went to the Hotel for the New Year’s party.
  • He went to Sheila’s house on New Year’s day – a few less people, so he could breathe.
  • The next morning he was woken up, to go to Jim R’s House – Danish Christmas Dinner.
  • (Jim’s original family comes from the same part of Denmark as Mikkel).
  • Last Saturday he went to Edmonton to meet with other exchange students.
  • Yesterday Dawn picked him up – he did more cleaning in the house. 
  • (At this point Dawn interjected and said it isn’t as bad as he said it was)
  • Today he was back to school
  • He is playing a home basketball game next Monday at 7:00 at CCHS.
Guest Speaker – Days for Girls
The Daybreak club sponsors the Days for Girls as a project.
Carol introduced the Guest Speaker: Charissa Cummings of the Red Deer Days for Girls club.  Korin Hinch, also from Red Deer, assisted with the presentation.
Charissa spoke about a Guatemalan project for Days for girls.  They are looking for support for a large project there.
In September 2015 they delivered 700 kits to a remote area of Guatemala. (There was a road - so it wasn’t that remote, compared to other towns in the region).
There are 23 different indigenous groups in Guatemala.  They all speak different languages.  Even in the small area where they went, there were two dialects.  Communication is a big issue and results in a lot of isolation.
There was also a 36-year-long civil war which ended in 1996.  This has resulted in a lot of poverty in the country.  Their Medical resources are very poor, and their educational resources have been emptied.
More than 80% of the adults in the region that they went to, are illiterate.  The people will work in the fields for a full day and make $5.00.  In some places there isn’t work, so they may only work a few days per month.
Average families have 7 children.  Many parents don’t see the value of sending their children to school.  They need the help at home.  Between grades one and two, there is a 50% drop-out rate.  Graduating from Grade 7 is a big achievement.
10 Women from Central Alberta traveled to Guatemala to complete the kit distribution.
The kits are designed to educate and assist with feminine hygiene and reproductive education.  The purpose is to show young girls how they can go to school – all the days of the month and not miss out on opportunities because of shame.
The kits are all hand-made with volunteers making them with sewing machines.    The girls need to be educated before they get the kits.  The pads in the kits can be washed and dried.  They come with soap.  They also come with a zip lock bag, so they can take soiled liners home and wash them.  With proper care they should last three years.  The kits come in discrete bags, so other people don’t really know what they are.
On average, one kit takes about four hours or more to put together.  Both the Camrose and Red Deer Clubs get together in the evenings and on weekends for sewing and kit production workshops.  With Days for Girls there is a quality standard that has to be met.  All the kits are made the same way.
In the kits there are cards that show visually how to care for the kits.  The kits go all over the world.
Charrisa has made several trips to a school in Guatemala.  She was able to coordinate the kit distribution with the schools.  They targeted girls in grades 5 and 6.
There were lots of challenges. The subject is Taboo.  There are a lot of myths that they have, that are almost unbelievable.  One is that they don’t shower when they have their period.  If you do, then blue/black veins start to pop out on their legs.  The group use a lot of humour in their presentations to break the ice.
A big questions was – would they actually use the kits and appreciate them.  How would they make them sustainable.  The kits and education were very much appreciated.  How to make the program sustainable is still a question.
The ten women took 20 suitcases with them on their first trip.  The cost of the additional baggage is a barrier and has been increasing each year.
To make the project sustainable, they have initiated a project to teach sewing to the young girls - so they can make their own kits as well as other products to sell.  This could potentially give the girls a start at  a career.
The school owns a green house which they use for education and to grow food for the school.  The school also has a woodworking shop. Sewing would give an opportunity for the girls.
The teachers are very supportive.  They are knowledgeable and have received kits themselves.  Talking about these issues opened up a great deal of trust, allowing stories being shared.  There is a lot of abuse and things that go on in the home, so the teachers created a safe place to talk.
Hopefully with training, the girls would be able to generate a sustainable business.
The majority of the cost would be to build the classroom.  The total budget would be around $15,000 to $20,000.
The plan is to have people travel to Guatemala to teach sewing – and also how to create the kits.  They believe that one qualified person could teach two girls over a five-day period.  Then Practice, Practice, Practice.  Hopefully these girls would become the instructors.  There would also be the Days for Girls educational component which would have to be taught at the same time.
There is an orphanage being built close by, so there is an opportunity to practice sewing baby bibs, wash cloths and blankets.
The goal would be to have instructors in place, teaching the girls, by the end of 2018.  This would coincide with the timing of the first batch of kits reaching the end of their three-year life, so the new kits could be prepared on site.
Charissa explained that she is looking for support for the project and hopes that our two clubs will consider it.  The Daybreak club is already involved.
Charissa thanked the Rotary club for allowing her to give the presentation.
Lisa thanked Charrisa for the presentation and advised her that the clubs had funded the vaccination of 50 children against Polio, in recognition of her speaking to our clubs.
There were a number of questions from those in attendance.
Carol Peterson brought out a trolley with 150 kits, which had been made by the Camrose Days for Girls group.  These 150 kits were given to Charissa to be given to help with her project..   There were a lot of people who volunteer with the Days for Girls group, who were in the audience.
Next Evening Meeting
Dawn, on behalf of President Dan, announced that our next dinner meeting is hosted by the Camrose Rotary Club, and will take place on the evening of Monday, February 13th at the Camrose Resort Casino.  There will be a “slightly romantic” theme, and the speaker will be Norm Mayor - giving a “State of the City” address.