Four members of the Rotary Club of Bethlehem Morning Star have traveled over 7,400 miles away to Isiolo County, Kenya for a boots-on-the-ground look at our Rotary Global Grant project. Wendy Ellsworth, Janet Kolepp, Susan Burnett and Holly Sachdev will visit Ngaremara, the center of Rotary's work to improve maternal and child health care. There they will meet with our project partners at the local Isiolo Rotary Club, along with the residents who will benefit from the improved facilities. Back in the United States, Donna Holton continues the planning and coordination of the project, which includes a safe reliable water supply, sanitation, solar energy, training for health workers, diagnostic equipment, and transportation. Together, these five remarkable ladies make up our "Women of Action" team.
This global project is important to Rev. Wendy Ellsworth because she understands the enormous need of the people who live in the Ngaremara area to have access to decent maternal and child healthcare close to where they live. She was a volunteer for the Frontier Nursing Service in Hyden, Kentucky in the 1960’s, which brought nurse midwifery and healthcare to the people living in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Her mother did this when she was a young woman and passed on to Wendy the value of being of service to people in need of proper health care. Her work in Northern Kenya with Rotary is a continuation of her interest in bringing maternal and child healthcare to underprivileged people who are in need.
Wendy has been a seed bead artist for 52 years. After being awarded a Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 2003, she traveled to Kenya to study the beadwork of the Maasai and Samburu tribes. This led to her returning nine times to work with tribal women who bead and to help non-profits that have beading projects as an advisor and teacher. Since 2003, she has sponsored the education of many young people, mostly girls, in order to elevate gender equality through education. In 2020, she set up three GoFundMe projects in Northern Kenya. These projects led directly to Wendy joining her longtime friend Donna Holton in Rotary so that she could continue to be of service to humanity on a much larger scale. While she now resides in the mountains of western North Carolina, live Zoom calls have made it possible for her to join in the Rotary Club of Bethlehem Morning Star's weekly meetings from afar. She is traveling to Kenya to participate in Rotary service projects and meet with our partners for the global grant for maternal and child healthcare for the tribal people of the Ngaremara area.
Donna Holton is the ground crew for the high-flying Women of Action team. She and Wendy have been friends for 40 years, so when Wendy started a fundraiser to rebuild her friend Nakaochom’s burned house in Manyatta Zebra, Kenya, it was easy for Donna to sign on. Along the way, they learned that Nakaochom did not have a latrine... and there were NO latrines at all in Manyatta Zebra. So Wendy and Donna organized to build one for her, and then seven more community latrines for the seven villages in the area. It became evident that the needs of the area are huge, far beyond latrines. They also realized that projects to address those needs were way beyond their ability to independently finance or manage. Donna has been a Rotarian for over 20 years, and Wendy has been supporting women and children in Africa for just about as long. Together, they presented the opportunity of building on their work in Manyatta Zebra through Rotary. And the rest is history.
Bethlehem Morning Star and our partners in the Rotary Club of Isiolo have used Rotary tools to identify this project and apply for a global grant. Working together, we will improve maternal and child health for the entire community. Donna is excited that our Women of Action will be able to meet our Rotary partners and see Rotary in action... making this small part of the world a better place.
Past District Governor Janet Kolepp has been changed by being a member of Rotary. Saying “yes” to the opportunity to welcome her first Rotary Exchange Student, Saya, into her home in 1999, she could never imagine the impact Rotary would have on her life. Rotary offers her a connection to people all over the world. She has Rotarian friends from South Africa to Canada, Tasmania to India. All have shared their Rotary experiences with her and let her see the opportunities to take action to change our world. The opportunity to serve District 7430 clubs and members as Governor in 2020-2021 provided further connections that lead her to saying “yes” to participate with Rotary partners on the other side of the world through a Rotary Foundation global grant. This grant will assist with training health care workers and modernizing the Ngaremara Health Dispensary in Isiolo County, Kenya. Being a member of Rotary provides endless opportunities to make a difference.  
Rotarians are offered an incredible gift--to learn about new cultures and issues in the world, how we can help people less fortunate than ourselves, and to grow as we go thru this process. For Susan Burnett, this is what the trip to Kenya is about. As a very wise person once told her, she can bear witness, and return to tell the story of the communities where our grant will be used. And hopefully, thru the power of Rotary, others will listen, and become interested to share their talent, their treasure, their time with us to help the next person in line.
Susan went on her first Rotaplast mission in 2019. This life-changing trip inspired her to serve as the District 7430 Grant Committee Co-Chair for Rotaplast. Her team of eight Rotarians and 20 volunteer doctors and nurses travelled to Guatemala where they performed 114 cleft palate and lip surgeries on children who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to have these life changing operations. Children born with facial deformities have incredible difficulties learning to speak, read and eat. They often do not attend school. In the past 15+ years, over 20,000 children have been given an opportunity to succeed in life with Rotaplast surgery. 
As a great steward of the Rotary Foundation, our members support the Foundation and global grants in many ways, year in and year out, since the inception of the Club. We are also great stewards of our local community, thru District and Community Grants and sweat equity programs. Susan would like to see our club take the next step by using the funds that we donate yearly to the SHARE program and expand our talent and expertise on a global level. Through our global grant project in Kenya, we will maximize the funds we put into the Foundation and turn them into positive outcomes where it is most needed.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Bethlehem Morning Star for over 17 years, Susan has served on a number of other committees and assisted on a clean water project in Nicaragua in 2015 in a partnership with Engineers without Borders and Lehigh University. She currently serves as the Bethlehem Morning Star Grants Chair and Rotaplast Chair.
The vision behind Rotary is simple, "Service above self." In Rotary when an idea sparks, amazing things start to happen locally and globally because of the dedicated Rotarians who understand and want to help. Service to the community has always been a part of Holly Sachdev's life. And so Rotary was a natural fit for Holly when she joined three years ago. The longer that she stuck with Rotary, the more apparent it became to her that Rotary is very different from other service organizations she belonged to. She found it much more active with many more different areas of focus in which to participate. 
Holly feels privileged to be go to Kenya with three other dynamic Rotary women to participate in a Rotary International Global Grant Project to upgrade the Ngaremara Health Dispensary in Isiolo, Kenya. This project will bring solar energy, a dedicated water supply and trained health care workers to a region that is in desperate need of these services. A highlight of the trip for Holly will be meeting and working with the Isiolo Rotary Club who have done an amazing job helping with the application and facilitation of the Global Grant.
Holly is a mother of two and a grandmother of three. She hopes that her work in the community will someday inspire others to continue the legacy of service.