An important part of a Rotary Clubs mission is to support not only its local community but also, in a broader sense, people around the world who may not be as fortunate as we are in Canada.

During the past two years, the Rotary Club of Penticton has been involved in many international projects.

Allocating a very small yearly budget, we were able to support the following projects:

• We gave one “Hippo Roller” to villagers in Africa. This device, similar to a roller we use in landscaping, contains a large reservoir and allows women (this is generally their duty) in small villages to reduce the number of trips they are making to get water from wells that are sometimes many kilometers away from their homes.

Using the roller does reduce their risk to be attacked by animals or human predators.

• We funded one “Shelter Box” to support the victims of big earthquakes in the world. A shelter box contains, a tent, a wood pellet stove, utensils to cook and to eat as well as blankets to keep people warm. It allows families who lost their homes to have a place to live during the time they rebuild.

• We participated to the “Days For Girls” project: This global initiative, supported by a group of women from Penticton as part of many groups in North America, makes available a little bag (A Kit) with washable and re-usable sanitary pads for young girls in Africa and India.

In those parts of the world, many families cannot afford the cost of disposable pads, therefore the girls cannot go to school during several days each month. Consequently, they get so far behind that they eventually abandon school. The “ kits” are handmade by women like the ones we are supporting here in Penticton.

This simple solution can make a major difference in the future of these young girls by allowing them to continue their education.

• The Rotary Club of Penticton is part of a global Rotary International initiative to provide drinkable water to people in Haiti. This country, the poorest in North America, has had several natural disasters in the past ten years in addition to be plagued by political instability and corruption.

The two recent earthquakes have destroyed a lot of the source of drinkable water for Haitians. Therefore, people are drinking contaminated water making them gravely ill and killing many.

Rotary created the “Hanwash” project, a large initiative supported by our Rotary District. As part of this project our club, along with 20 others in Canada and the U.S., has been involved in a pilot project with the objective of providing drinkable water to one “commune” (the equivalent of a small county) servicing about 400 families.

We first funded the design of a sustainable solution and recently the project received a global grant from Rotary International to the amount of $490,000 to build the first well that will serve the commune of Ferrier.

More recently, our Club donated $5,000 to International Red Cross in support of people victims of the war in Ukraine.

When someone gives to the Rotary Club of Penticton via individual donations or by participating at one of our fundraising events, you are not only supporting our community but you also make good around the world.

Michel Martel is Director, Club Services, for the Rotary Club of Penticton.