The African Ruggedized Educational System (ARES) has proven to be such a success in bringing the world's education to children in remote, rural communities of Africa, where there is limited access to books, paper and writing materials, and intermittent power and no access to the internet, it has now arrived in The Philippines.
The first mission of its kind, to introduce what has been called, "Asian Ruggedized Educational System (ARES)", happened in February as a joint International Service Project of the Rotary Club of Ladner and the Rotary Club of Richmond Sunrise. Ladner Rotary President Bridget Jacob, on behalf of this club as a sponsor, participated in the team visit to The Philippines and reported on the overall mission in a club meeting on Zoom April 21, 2020.
Elena Agala, of the Rotary Club of Richmond Sunrise, was the driving force behind the mission to distribute three ARES systems to schools and, as she has done for many years, to provide dental services to those in need in various communities.
Bonnie Sutherland, of the Rotary Club of North Delta, who also a member of the recent ARES team mission to The Philippines, started working in Africa in 1992 with her late husband, Don, both teachers in Delta. In Kenya they saw the great need for teachers and students and began shipping containers of books and other materials to Africa. ARES eventually emerged from this international service in education.
The Rotary Clubs of Ladner and Richmond Sunrise each raised $5000 for the mission to distribute the three ARES systems, provide books, shelving and tables at four elementary schools and support the dental team visit. A Rotary District 5040 grant also provided funds, and Ladner Rotarian, Michael Cruise, made a personal contribution.
For more information on ARES, click here.
The ARES team visited several communities and presented at no cost computing equipment to each school visited, including the central ARES archive some desktop computers and chrome books.
A team of 13 dentists treated 1,000 patients per day over four days, with extractions, fillings and cleaning, as part of the ARES mission to The Philippines. People lined up all day for treatment
Bridget Jacob affixes the shipping seal to a Rotary World Help container loaded with medical equipment and books bound for The Philippines on October 12, 2019, with ARES founder Bonnie Sutherland. Below the equipment and books weres unlodaded from the shipping container in Panglao, The Philippines and the ARES team worked on sorting and arranging distribution of the boxes of books for schools.
Books, shelving and  tables were so valued and welcomed at the few schools receiving them
The ARES mission team visited five centres in The Philippines and were hosted by local Rotary clubs. The team brought with them soccer jerseys for teams in two communities.